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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 02:24 GMT
Paraguay leader survives vote
President Gonzalez Macchi (centre) at the presidential palace
Gonzalez Macchi denied all the charges
Paraguay's scandal-hit President Luis Gonzalez Macchi has survived a vote to remove him from office.

The president's opponents failed to get enough votes to oust the president over allegations he misused millions of dollars in state funds.

Senators voted 25 to 18 with one abstention, to find the president not guilty of the corruption charges.

The president's challengers needed at least 30 votes to remove him.

During two weeks of impeachment proceedings, the president was accused of misappropriation of funds, fraud and the torture of leftist militants.

He had also been accused of illegally buying a stolen BMW car.

Mr Gonzalez Macchi denied all the charges, which were brought by members of his own dominant Colorado Party, and insisted he would stay in office until elections scheduled for 27 April.

Mr Gonzalez Macchi has faced a series of crises since taking office in March 1999.

His predecessor Raul Cubas was driven out by street protests and a similar impeachment attempt.

Mr Gonzalez Macchi has faced demonstrations, strikes and cabinet resignations in recent months.

Paraguay has been mired in recession since 1995.

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The BBC's Tom Gibb
"President Macchi has always denied the charges"
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