1940 Paraguayan constitutional referendum

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A constitutional referendum was held in Paraguay on 4 August 1940.[1] It saw voters approve the new constitution.[1]


In 1939 President José Félix Estigarribia responded to a political stalemate by dissolving Congress and declared himself absolute dictator. To dramatize his government's desire for change, he scrapped the existing constitution and produced a new one. The new constitution reflected Estigarribia's desire for stability and power and provided for an extremely powerful state and executive. The President would be elected in direct elections for a term of five years, with re-election permitted for one additional term. They would also be able to intervene in the economy, control the press, suppress private groups, suspend individual liberties, and take exceptional actions for the good of the state. The Senate was abolished and the Chamber of Representatives limited in power. A new advisory Council of State was created, modeled on the experience of corporatist Italy and Portugal, to represent group interests including business, farmers, bankers, the military, and the Roman Catholic Church. The military was responsible for safeguarding the Constitution.[2]


Choice Votes %
For 92.4
Against 7.6
Invalid/blank votes
Total 100
Registered voters/turnout 80
Source: Direct Democracy


  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p428 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  2. ^ Thomas C. Bruneau. "Constitutional Development". Paraguay: A country study (Dannin M. Hanratty and Sandra W. Meditz, eds.). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (December 1988). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.