In Guatemala, the election of President Arevalo guaranteed by the electoral court

New legal clouds have come to threaten the presidential term that Bernardo Arevalo is due to begin in January 2024 in Guatemala

In Guatemala, the election of President Arevalo guaranteed by the electoral court

New legal clouds have come to threaten the presidential term that Bernardo Arevalo is due to begin in January 2024 in Guatemala. The prosecution considered, Friday, December 8, “null and void” the election won in August by the social democratic candidate due to alleged irregularities, provoking the ire of the Organization of American States (OAS) which immediately denounced an “attempted coup.” But the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) then guaranteed the said election results.

“The results are validated, official and unalterable (…)”, the elected officials “must take their functions” next January “otherwise there is a breakdown in the constitutional order”, declared, during a press conference, the president of the TSE, Blanca Alfaro.

She was responding to the prosecutor, Leonor Morales, who had affirmed that the prosecution's investigations showed that there had been "anomalies in the drafting of the minutes closing the vote count" and that, consequently, "the elections of the president, the vice-president, the deputies (…) are automatically null and void”. According to her, the minutes had not been approved “by the plenary” of the TSE, and therefore should not have been used to record the results.

“Preserve democracy”

The head of the prosecutor's office against impunity, Rafael Curruchiche, present alongside Ms. Morales, said he intended to "present this criminal information to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for analysis in the coming days" and that this it will be up to him to make “the decision on the matter.” Despite Mr. Curruchiche's assertion that all "the information that was recorded in the closing act and the ballots in all polling stations should be canceled", the TSE's response was not long in coming. . It responded to the OAS General Secretariat's request calling on "President Alejandro Giammattei, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Congress" in Guatemala to "defend the country's institutions and constitutional order by acting against the perpetrators of this attack, in order to preserve democracy in Guatemala.”

The secretariat of the organization established in Washington and which has 35 member states had judged that “the acts and declarations of prosecutors Rafael Curruchiche and Leonor Morales constitute a revision of the constitutional order of the country, an infringement of the rule of law , and a violation of the human rights of the people of their country.”

“The attempt to invalidate this year’s general elections constitutes the worst form of democratic disintegration and the consolidation of political fraud against the will of the people,” the OAS added.

The suspicions of irregularities constitute, according to Mr. Arevalo's supporters, a new attempt by the prosecutor's office led by Attorney General Consuelo Porras (placed on a list of corrupt actors by the United States), to prevent the January 14 inauguration of the president-elect.

Manifestation « anticorruption »

Mr. Arevalo won, to everyone's surprise, the presidential election on a program to fight corruption. In mid-November, the prosecutor's office made a request to lift the immunity of Mr. Arevalo and his vice-president-elect Karin Herrera for a case of occupation of a public university from May 2022 to June 2023. Others Judicial maneuvers allowed the suspension of his political party.

The United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the OAS have repeatedly strongly criticized the actions of the prosecution against the president-elect. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala expressed “concern about actions that appear intended to undermine the integrity of the electoral process and the rule of law.”

Bernardo Arevalo led an “anti-corruption” demonstration on Thursday which brought together thousands of people in the capital and also called for the ouster of Ms Porras. “We march in unity for this country which will prosper despite the corrupt,” he declared during this “March for Democracy” to cries of “Out with the corrupt!” ".