June 5, 2017 / 3:22 PM / 2 months ago

Paraguay finance minister quits to run for president next year

Paraguayan Finance Minister Santiago Pena speaks during an interview with Reuters prior to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank in Luque, Paraguay, March 30, 2017.Jorge Adorno/Files

ASUNCION (Reuters) - Paraguay's finance minister, Santiago Pena, stepped down on Monday to run for president in the April 2018 election, according to a copy of his resignation letter tweeted by the country's current leader, Horacio Cartes.

Pena, a 38-year-old economist, is a member of Cartes' Honor Colorado party. The future candidate has said in recent news interviews that he would continue Cartes' policies by continuing Paraguay's presence in the international capital markets and expanding social programs while controlling the fiscal deficit.

"My resignation closes one chapter and opens a wider path for me to serve our country," the letter said.

Deputy Finance Minister Lea Gimenez was named as Pena's successor as minister.

"It will be a calm transition. We will continue the same work that the ministry had been doing," Gimenez told reporters.

Cartes, elected in 2013, cannot run for re-election.

Reporting by Daniela Desantis; editing by Hugh Bronstein and Jonathan Oatis

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