Guatemala: Arbitrariness of the Electoral Tribunal Denounced

Final stretch in Guatemala for the closing of registrations with a view to the general elections on June 25. Candidates for the presidential, legislative and municipal elections have until March 24 to have their name on the ballot. But so far, several applicants have seen their candidacy rejected, sparking concern and allegations of fraud.

It does not seem clear what criteria the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala is using to validate or reject candidacies for the general elections. The left party Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP), denounces an “electoral fraud” after seeing their binomial, made up of the indigenous leader, discarded Thelma Cabrera and former prosecutor Jordán Rodas, prohibited by a previous criminal complaint.

The right-wing politician, Roberto Arzú, was also rejected. Instead, Manuel Baldizón, a politician who admitted to having laundered money and was sentenced to 50 months in prison in the United States, was accepted.

An inconsistency highlighted by the constitutional lawyer and professor at the Universidad del Ismo, Edgar Ortiz Romero: “In the case of Manuel Baldizón, the Electoral Tribunal’s argument is that he was sentenced in the United States and not in Guatemala, therefore that sentence is not valid in this country, but in another case, that of the candidate for mayor (re-election in Cuilapa, Santa Rosa) EsvinMarroquín, his registration was deniedbecause he has an extradition decision from the United States for issues related to drug trafficking. The Court explains this decision given the importance of compliance with International Treaties of collaborating with the justice of other countries, with which one wonders how the Court resolves a case in which a foreign sentence has no effect in Guatemala and in another case it does”.

Some analysts wonder what is behind this apparent arbitrariness? If it is a political bias or incompetence of the electoral entity. For Professor Ortiz Romero “the criteria are unclear” since “it is not so easy to say that the court responds to one actor or another, but we do see that it measures different actors with different standards.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on Guatemala to guarantee the “exercise of political rights” so that candidates can stand in the general elections.

Guatemala's current president, Alejandro Giammattei, will not be running for re-election.
Guatemala’s current president, Alejandro Giammattei, will not be running for re-election. REUTERS

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Written by Editor TLN

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