A tobacco magnate, who compared gay people to “monkeys” and threatened to remove his private parts if his son married another man, is now Paraguay’s new president.

Horacio Cartes’ eyebrow-raising comments came to light when the New York Times cited a radio interview, during which he compared gay people to “monkeys”, and then said he would “shoot himself in the balls” if his son were to marry another man.

Mr Cartes secured victory over his Liberal rival, Efrain Alegre, on Sunday and returned the conservative Colorado Party to the presidency.

Although opposed to equal marriage, Mr Alegre signalled a more thoughtful approach to the issue during the election campaign.

“This is something that needs to be discussed in society,” he said earlier this month.

Paraguay currently has no legislation in place for same-sex marriage or civil unions.

A judge in Paraguay recently refused to register the marriage of a gay couple who legally tied the knot in Argentina.