Guatemala Begins Review of Electoral Records After Challenges to Party Results

Guatemala Begins Review of Electoral Records After Challenges to Party Results

Guatemala began the review of the electoral records on Tuesday, after the order of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court to stop the officialization of results to address the challenges presented by political parties that lost in the first round of the general election.

They ask that the minutes be reviewed, compared against the counting system and, if necessary, a new vote count be carried out, despite the fact that the law does not contemplate the latter.

With the Departmental Electoral Boards in the middle, surrounded by prosecutors from political parties and some militants, they are trying to solve the 422 contested tally sheets, out of a total of 122,293 tally sheets in which the feelings of Guatemalan voters were collected on June 25 .

The forecast is that the minutes of 19 meetings will be reviewed on Tuesday, out of a total of 23. And on Wednesday, the rest.

At times, there were shouts, threats and applause from fans on the first day of reviewing the results.

The left-wing Seed Movement, which was the surprise in the elections for having reached second place and which will go to the second round against the candidate Sandra Torres on August 20, denounced that the losing parties are trying to reverse the election and to annul the entire electoral process.

Juan Garnica, national prosecutor of the Movimiento Semilla party, denounced that there were prosecutors who intimidated and threatened the Electoral Boards in order to get them to do what they were requesting.

“We observed that the national prosecutor of the Vamos party, seconded by a couple of political parties, began to intimidate and threaten the electoral boards so that all the boxes (containing the votes) are opened and the votes are counted; national prosecutors do not have the power to participate or ask for that,” said Garnica.

Héctor Aldana, prosecutor for the ruling party Vamos, shouting, asked several Electoral Boards to include new challenges and told reporters that he did not have the number of challenges filed by his party but that those that were raised for the Constitutional Court to order a new review hearing were “the tip of an iceberg”. For this reason, they were asked to open all the boxes containing the ballots and minutes to compare them.

“Let’s open the boxes, open the boxes,” Aldana shouted at the Electoral Board of the department of Escuintla, in the south of the country, for which the president of the Board called to respect the audience and those present.

The Electoral Board of the Rethaluleu department, also in the southern region, opened more than 18 boxes containing the ballots. In each box, there are sealed bags where the contested ballots were, each one was shown to the party prosecutors so that they could corroborate or not their challenge.

The challenges in both locations correspond to votes from rural or municipal areas.

On Sunday, the Constitutional Court (CC) provisionally protected nine political parties seeking to review the tally sheets and recount the votes, arguing that they found failures and deletions in the tally sheets, non-existent tally sheets in some 152 tally sheets of the 122,293 that collected the votes.

The decision of the Court has been condemned by national and international organizations for the interference of the justice system – which has already received criticism from activists for being co-opted by the ruling party and political parties – in the electoral system.

On Tuesday, organizations continued to join the rejection of the decision of the constitutional court. The group “Los 48 Cantones”, which brings together indigenous people and peasants from the western part of the country, demanded that the CC back down, because its ruling puts the second electoral round at risk, violating the rule of law and cracking the country’s institutionality, usurping the powers of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

“We demand to immediately revoke your resolution that clearly seeks to maintain the state of institutionalized corruption and kleptocracy of recent years,” said the peasant organization.

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Written by Editor TLN

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