Anti-corruption candidate Arevalo wins Guatemala’s presidential election. Can he claim the position? – Organization for World Peace

On August 20Th, Bernardo Arevalo and his progressive anti-corruption platform won the Guatemalan presidential election. According to official data from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, he won 58% of the vote, compared to 37% for his opponent, former first lady Sandra Torres. But even as Arevalo’s supporters took to the streets to celebrate his landslide victory, he is unlikely to take office on January 14.ThWhen he takes the oath of office. Torres has yet to concede the race, instead filing a complaint alleging election fraud.

In an Instagram post uploaded on August 25Th, Torres called on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to investigate alleged „several irregularities” in election data. In the same post, he insists that „Until the truth of the facts recorded in 20, Arevalo’s victory should not be made official.”Th Clarified in August.

Although Torres has yet to recognize Arévalo’s victory, current President Alejandro Giammattei congratulated Arevalo on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, and indicated that they want to work together to ensure an orderly and complete transfer of power.

In addition to the ban Torres is proposing, there have been several legal attempts to disqualify Arevalo’s party, the Movimiento Semilla, or Seed Movement. In August, the Attorney General’s Office revealed it was investigating the legality of the party’s initial registration. Also, the New York Times reported on August 20Th A lawyer who previously tried to suspend Arrivalo’s party is seeking to ban the SEED movement again, claiming irregularities in the signatures collected to form the party, despite an initial overturn by Guatemala’s constitutional court. According to Risa Grais-Targow, an analyst at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, „a governing agreement will continue to target electoral officials and Arévalo’s Semilla party for investigations ahead of a change of government in January.”

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The Independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal has already certified the election results along with several world leaders including US President Joe Biden. Additionally, according to the Organization of American States (which employed a team of 86 election observers in Guatemala), voting went smoothly, Reuters reported on August 21.St The election „fulfilled all demanding obligations.” To preserve democratic integrity in Guatemala and ensure a peaceful transfer of power, Torres must accept his loss and allow Arevalo to take office next month.

However, as Torres acknowledges, these efforts to block the transfer of power threaten to worsen the region’s democratic backsliding. There has been serious erosion of democracy under the current Giamatte administration, with scores of anti-corruption prosecutors, judges and journalists fleeing the country, and government inroads into the justice system and the attorney general’s office. By country, Guatemala ranks 150 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2022.

Ana María Mendez Darden, director of the Central America Think Tank in Washington’s Latin America office, told Reuters she sees Aravallo fulfilling the role of „a transitional government to restore the broken democratic values ​​in Guatemala.” While his victory is a step in the right direction on Guatemala’s journey toward democratic consolidation and ending corruption, the numerous roadblocks Aravalo faces before he takes office speak to the difficulties of maintaining democracy and honoring Guatemalans.

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