Paraguay's pro-Taiwan candidate wins presidency

STORY: Pena, who has pledged to maintain Paraguay's long-standing Taiwan relations, had 42.7% of the vote with over 99% of ballots counted, a more than 15-point lead over centre-left rival Efrain Alegre, who has argued for switching allegiance to China.

In his victory speech, Pena said his win meant Paraguay's voters "chose the road of social peace, dialogue, fraternity and national reconciliation."

The election result leaves the 44-year-old facing a challenge to rev up Paraguay's farm-driven economy, shrink a major fiscal deficit and navigate rising pressures from soy and beef producers to ditch Taiwan in favor of China and its huge markets.

It also underscores the dominance of the Colorado Party, which has ruled for all by five of the last 75 years and has a fierce campaign machine, despite rising discontent from some voters over the slowing economy and corruption allegations.