On June 25, Guatemalans will go to the polls to elect their new president. But some of the contenders have already been disqualified. The institutions are accused of maneuvering to preserve an authoritarian and corrupt regime based on co-optation by the ruling elites.
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Businessman Carlos Pineda (right, 51) is the latest candidate dismissed by the courts and the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) at the request of a competing party. The latter argued irregularities in the procedure. However, the favorite in the polls (23.1% of voting intentions according to the daily Prensa Libre), the entrepreneur still hopes for a possible decision in his favor from the Constitutional Court.
The TSE eliminated two other serious candidates: Thelma Cabrera (left, 52), from the Maya indigenous peoples who constitute at least 40% of the population, and Roberto Arzu (right, 53), son of former President Alvaro Arzu, in power from 1996 to 2000. Human Rights Watch described these measures as “ arbitrary exclusion of candidates “.
The eviction of candidates by justice puts “ at risk (…) the rule of law, democracy, guarantees and freedoms of the entire population “, denounces to AFP Edie Cux, the director of Citizen Action, local version of the anti-corruption NGO Transparency International.
June 25, 2023, first round of the election
There are, with Carlos Pineda, 23 candidates for the presidency, which a priori prevents any chance of election in the first round, since the winner must obtain more than half of the votes. Among them are social democrat and former first lady Sandra Torres, former UN official Edmond Mulet, and Zury Rios, daughter of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt convicted of genocide during his presidency in 1982 and 1983. .
The current conservative president Alejandro Giammattei, pursued by allegations of corruption, leaves power with 75% of unfavorable opinions. Since he came to power, several anti-corruption prosecutors who had worked with the UN anti-corruption mission CICIG have been arrested, while others have gone into exile.
According to former UN rapporteur for freedom of expression Frank La Rue, the ” dictatorship of a group (united) by economic interests, corruption and even organized crime imposes its views in the country. He describes a political scene where ” we see the director, the president, move his pawns. But what we don’t see is who is writing the script and who is financing the play. “.
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