Paraguay president gets $104 traffic ticket

/ Source: The Associated Press

Fernando Lugo occupies Paraguay's highest office, but he's not above the rules of the road.

Police issued the bishop-turned-president a $104 traffic ticket Friday for illegal passing and failing to keep his driver's license up to date, highway transit chief Eduardo Petta said.

Petta told Nanduti radio he was accompanying officers in the field when they stopped a black Ford Explorer without license plates after it passed another vehicle illegally on a highway south of the capital.

"When I got up to the vehicle, I saw that President Lugo himself was behind the wheel," Petta said. "I explained why I had pulled him over and asked for his driver's license — which was out of date, because it lacked authorization for the year 2009.

"For the two infractions I fined him 520,000 guaranies ($104). He has five days to pay the ticket."

Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop, won the presidency in 2008 in part on promises to root out government corruption, but his image has been tarnished recently by paternity allegations raised by three different women.

"When Lugo named me highway transit chief last year he asked me not to forgive anyone," Petta said. "Not even him, nor the pope with his little hat."

Government offices were closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday, and Lugo's aides did not immediately issue a public reaction.

Petta told the radio station that during the traffic stop, "The president didn't say anything to me. He just moved to the back seat, and one of his bodyguards took over behind the wheel."

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