Guatemala plunges into a political crisis after the Supreme Court of Justice extended the suspension of election results

  • suspected fraud The Constitutional Court suspends the results of the Guatemalan elections

Two weeks after the election in Guatemala, no official results yet. It is not even known when there will be, after the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) decide this Saturday to extend the suspension of the official results of the elections held on June 25 which, in principle, the candidate of the National Unity of Hope (UNE), Sandra Torreswhile the seed candidate, Bernardo Arvalo de Len remained in second place. Both are expected to compete for the presidency of the Central American country in the second round to be held on August 20.

However, there is still no call-up, so the electoral campaign cannot start, after what was decided by the president of the CSJ, Silvia Valdeswhich, in a resolution signed by you alone, granted the TSE a twelve-hour deadline to deliver a report on the electoral register comparison procedure, which took place from 4 to 6 July to verify whether the provisions ordered by the CC were strictly complied with.

For three days, the country’s 23 electoral councils recounted electoral rolls at the request of the Constitutional Court (CC), which in turn had ordered the TSE to suspend the official results on suspicion of “fraud” denounced by nine political parties, including the UNE and the official Vamos party.

In particular, on July 1, the CC granted an injunction to these nine formations and stressed that the TSE should suspend the classification of results, so that, by August 20, “everything has been duly purged”.

In an unprecedented call in Guatemala, prosecutors from different parts of Guatemala’s 22 departments and the central district They challenged those acts in which they believed that the votes had not been correctly counted and even asked for the annulment of the elections in some municipalities due to irregularities. After a few marathon days that ended at dawn, the departmental electoral commissions denied any fraud in the electoral process, despite having accepted some objections and even resolved to ask for the annulment of the elections in some municipalities, even if the final decision rests with the five magistrates TSE holders who continue to study these appeals.

However, the Commissions verified that the review of the minutes did not in any way modify the preliminary results of the presidential elections of 25 June, thus reconfirming the victory of Sandra Torres and the second place of Bernardo Arvalo de Len. Only in the case of the Electoral Council of the Central District of Guatemala, the results varied by only 0.4 percent in the presidential elections and, in the case of the candidate Arval de Lenanother 605 votes were added.

Waiting for the TSE magistrates to definitively publish the results in the next few hours, the trial took a turn after the surprising decision of the CSJ to order them to keep them on hold, reminding the TSE that it has a ten-day deadline to comply with the provisions of the CC in the sense that it makes the relevant changes required by the Electoral Commissions or the cancellations required by law. Therefore, the Departmental Electoral Councils and the Central District Council must send a report to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal on how they complied with the CC’s request last week regarding the review of ballots.

Banner in this Saturday’s demonstration in Guatemala City.“ORLANDO ESTRADA”AFP extension

The comparison of the acts was carried out after the political organizations that deposited the amparo before the CC denounced that in the elections there was “an evident intention to provoke fraud” given the “existing discrepancies between the certifications of the acts of the Vote receipt forms and the data published by the TSE”. This judicial appeal, which was accepted on grounds of “ensure the purity of the electoral process” He intervened when the TSE had not yet finished counting the 5.5 million votes cast, as 0.88 percent of the votes had yet to be counted.

Therefore, the CSJ has decided to suspend the election results, after admitting to dealing with the request for assistance in the execution of the provisional amparo presented by the political parties of Valor, ALL and I BELIEVE, who requested that it be verified whether the Electoral Commissions have complied with the revision of the electoral minutes and the presentation of the appeals or cancellations to the TSE, given that, in the opinion of these formations, the Commissions have not complied with the provisions of the CC by refusing to open the boxes to count the votes one by one.

“ACCEPT WITH MATURITY” THE RESULTS

For their part, TSE sources confirmed to El Mundo that, at three o’clock this Saturday morning, the detailed report on the comparison of records and compliance with what was ordered by the CC had already been sent to the CSJ. Precisely, the president of the TSE, Irma Palenziahe deemed this Friday “irresponsible” to question the legitimacy of the review of the minutes carried out by the electoral commissions, which is why he defended that the whole process was done correctly.

Thus, the TSE announced that “after having exhausted the pending administrative processes and having resolved the 200 annulment appeals presented by the parties”, it will make the electoral results official, even if there is no date yet, much less after the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice. The TSE also invited the representatives of political organizations to “accept with maturity” the electoral results, announcing at the same time that the call of August 20 for the second round in which the future president of Guatemala will be voted will be maintained.

One of the applicants is Sandra Torreswho this Saturday asked the TSE to make the results “official today”, since although there are prosecutions by other parties, “we must move forward” towards the runoff, because “today the law does not allow us to campaign and ask the vote when there are just 40 days left until August 20”.

In this sense, I pointed out that the request made by three parties which led to the extension of the suspension of the results, refers only to the discrepancies in the municipalities, where they are “fighting for votes”, but not to the elections for the presidential binomial , which is why I asked that both issues “not be mixed” and that the second round be convened. towers He denounced that the electoral process continues to be “judicialized”, which “endangers democracy and the recognition of the two parties that we already know are going to the ballot”, taking into account the “great uncertainty that exists in the country and the great distrust in the electoral process”.

“FARCE OF THE DESPERATE”

For his part, the Seed candidate, Bernardo Arvalo de Len, he stressed that the “small corrections” that have been made to the revision of the electoral registers “do not alter the result and this process has allowed us to see that, in the end, we were the ones who had to vote”. This is why he estimated that “there is no reason to continue with this farce of those who are desperate” and asked the TSE to immediately formalize the results and call the second round of elections for August 20th.

Her party’s vice-presidential candidate put it similarly, Karin Herrera, who remarked that, despite “misinformation and social manipulation”, Semilla increased the number of votes, thus demonstrating that “nothing has been done here that shouldn’t be done”. However, she criticized the fact that “democracy has been affected because the vote of those of us who participated in the elections has been questioned, in order to confuse the population”.

This Saturday, hundreds of students from the Public University of San Carlos demonstrated in Guatemala City in front of the headquarters of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, where they defended democracy and asked that the judicial courts not interfere in the elections because “the people have already decided polls”. Thus, they showed placards with the words “No to the seizure of our vote by mafia politicians, courts and tribunals” and “The vote is respected. No to the corrupt system”.

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