Election court suspends Movimiento Semilla, party that won Guatemala’s election | International

Guatemala’s electoral authorities announced the validity of the second round of elections on August 20. The SEED movement won and awarded the elected president and vice president positions to sociologist Bernardo Arevalo de Leon and scientist and university professor Karin Herrera Aguilar. . Officialization of the results is a counterpoint to today’s date, as the party that won the election with 61% of valid votes and speeches rejecting corruption was temporarily suspended.

The Civil Registry, a body dependent on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), on Monday suspended the legal status of the Movimiento Semilla party after criminal judge Fredy Orellana was appointed by the United States as a corrupt and undemocratic actor. According to experts consulted by EL PAÍS, the decision will not affect the appointment of Arrivalo as president, although it will tire his party’s legal teams and create more uncertainty in a country plagued by the rise of dictatorship and the persecution of actors. and critical voices against corruption. The president-elect, who won the Aug. 20 elections against former first lady Sandra Torres, has emboldened the majority of Guatemalan voters with a strong anti-corruption message.

Until now, the Election Commission has refused to accept the order of a criminal judge, which it accused of being illegal and interfering with the operations of the TSE. Much water has flowed since July 21, when registrar Ramiro Muñoz refused to accept a promotion order that the Public Ministry falsely claimed in a process involving supporters to form a political party, which was deemed illegal. Last week, the Public Ministry announced a criminal case against Muñoz and requested that rancher Carlos Pineda be stripped of his immunity from suing him for discrepancies in the records of the party running for president.

Several judges alleged that Judge Orellana’s order was illegal because the Electoral Code establishes that no political entity can be annulled during the election process. In its resolution, the registrar says that since the second round took place on August 20, it is no longer barred from complying with Judge Orellana’s order, leaving President-elect Bernardo Arevalo without a party. Semilla can now promote an annulment appeal before the Electoral Court, due to which the judges refrained from issuing any opinion on the matter.

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Lawyer Oswaldo Samayoa told ELPAÍS that Arévalo is president-elect and the party’s suspension “will have no effect”. At the political level, it adds more wear and tear to its legal teams and the public’s acceptance of the prosecution’s statements as valid, says political scientist Louise Mack.

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At the end of the bitter day, Bernardo Arevalo and Vice President-elect Karin Herrera sent a message to the people to assure them that the SEED movement would not “abandon the demand for respect for the people freely expressed in the referendum.” .” Arrivalo looked sad, but his speech was strong: “Nothing legally can prevent us from taking office on January 14, 2024, which is constitutionally established,” said the president-elect and emphasized that “this is a historic moment.” The beginning of a new democratic spring. At the polling stations and then in the streets and squares of the entire country to celebrate.

The elected officials, who were present along with two lawyers for the party and elected representatives Juan Guerrero and Andrea Reyes, announced tomorrow morning that they will file an appeal for annulment against the party’s temporary suspension. “Complying with the order of the Seventh Court is absolutely illegal,” said Arevalo, “The Office of the Special Prosecutor Against Corruption and Impunity (FECI) and the Seventh Court have a process of political persecution, using judicial instruments. Illegal against the SEED movement”.

Since he won the election a week ago, not much has been heard about the president-elect. Plans to make an attempt on his life were revealed last week, even on the same day he won the election by a 21-point margin against Torres, who has not spoken for a week since his third defeat. Faced with threats of possible attacks against their lives and integrity, by mobs or state agents, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has issued precautionary measures to presidential candidates.

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President of the TSE this Monday in Guatemala City.Esteban Biba (EFE)

The risks facing Arévalo have been mounting since he surprisingly won his seat in the second round of the June 25 election. According to his complaint to the IACHR, gang members and state agents were among those suspected of trying to kill him. The irony is that the latter, particularly the National Civil Police and the Presidential Guard, are supposed to protect the couple in compliance with the precautionary measures of the Pan-American Organization.

In addition to physical attacks, Arévalo faces criminal risk because the office of the responsible prosecutor of Rafael Curruchiche, another of the appointees of the US authorities, has revealed the possibility of linking the president to a criminal file. A signature for setting up a seed movement.

Guruchiche, a lawyer who got a criminal judge to order the cancellation of the Seed Movement, is leading other investigations against anti-corruption justice operators and journalists. Several international monitoring bodies, such as the European Union, have expressed concern that prosecutions interfere with the inauguration of elected officials. The European Mission pointed out the excessive jurisprudence of the process and warned of similar “other possible actions” from the prosecutor’s office and the judicial system and to criminalize the TSE and suspend Semilla’s legal status “will limit the right of voters to elect them. Representatives must seize their positions.”

On the other hand, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), which monitors the electoral process and is aware of Prosecutor Garrucchi’s investigations, issued a statement saying they consider it “unnecessary” to stop the seed movement. The Trust did not demonstrate good cause” and “misinterpreted the law in violation of the most basic constitutional principles guaranteeing the rights of voters to suspend their rights after an election in which a political party received broad popular support. of the President-elect.

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Curruchiche presented the case file against Semilla to OAS Secretary Luis Almagro during a visit to the country to document the electoral crisis that threatened the country’s democratic stability.

Threats to suspend the party in the heat of citizens’ anti-corruption protests have been carried out and large sections of the public are outraged by recent efforts by Attorney General Consuelo Boras to censor critics on social networks. The citizen protests, in which he is asked to resign. On Friday morning, Porus filed an ambaro at the Constitutional Court so that President Alejandro Giammatte and the security forces would guarantee the fulfillment of their duties without “pressure” on social networks and protests called for that day. . This Monday, after Amparo’s rush, the court rejected the prosecutor’s request because the citizen demonstration was held in a way that did not endanger public order or the operations of the prosecutor’s office.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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