The United States and the European Union rejected the actions against Semilla. Washington argued that these methods are “worthy of a dictatorship”, while Brussels called for respect for the electoral process. The Constitutional Court announced that the second round will take place on the scheduled date with the candidates elected in the first electoral round, although electoral uncertainty still reigns in Guatemala.
The political crisis in Guatemala continues. The Public Ministry, began this Friday a raid on the headquarters of the Semilla party. This process is the continuation of the investigation that tries to accuse that political party of alleged corruption, with the aim of canceling its participation in the national political scene.
It is also a very controversial procedure as it is only a few weeks away from the second round of the presidential elections, in which Semilla, represented by Bernardo Arévalo, will face former first lady Sandra Torres. According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, its goal is to search for documents connected to dubious procedures with the formation of the group in 2018.
✨🌱 To the Guatemalan population, to the national and international media, we share the following statement from our National Executive Committee: pic.twitter.com/Rw5rQ5Rdwd
— Seed Movement 🌱 (@msemillagt) July 21, 2023
The Prosecutor’s Office is also considering other avenues to prove its point. According to the EFE news agency, the entity is considering the request to lift the immunity against deputies from the leftist party to investigate them without setbacks.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal was not left out of the investigations. Its headquarters were also raided to obtain files related to the ongoing process against Semilla.
Behavior of “authoritarian government”
A senior official told EFE on condition of anonymity that what is happening in Guatemala is a situation typical of “dictatorships.” The source commented that this type of event “undermines the will of the Guatemalan people.”
“Using judicial institutions in an arbitrary and political way are actions used by authoritarian governments, not only in Latin America but in other parts of the world. We see it in Cuba and Nicaragua. It is part of the manual of dictatorships”, he commented on the process against the Semilla party.
At another point, he mentioned that the Biden administration is watching the issue “very closely.” He also described as “very worrying” the actions of the Public Ministry in order to undermine the will of Guatemalans to “choose their own leaders.”
According to the official, Washington is “prepared” to use the necessary tools to “defend” the citizens of the Central American country. Example of this is inclusion in the “Engel list” of acts of corruption, to the Prosecutor Cinthia Monterroso, accused of persecuting free expression and taking the case against Semilla, and to Judge Fredy Orellana, who precisely authorized the search of the headquarters of the party that, it is believed, will discuss the second electoral round next August.
The European Union calls for respect for the electoral process
A spokesman for the European Union High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said in a release that “the EU remains deeply concerned by persistent attempts to undermine the integrity of the official results of the 25 June elections”. This was also made known in the context of the raid on the headquarters of the Semilla party.
He also called attention “to all Guatemalan institutions so that they fully respect the integrity of the electoral process and the result of the first round of voting certified by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which confirmed the presidential candidates to contest the presidential runoff on August 20”.
“Attempts to annul the election results certified by the country’s highest electoral authorities or undermine a democratic election would inevitably have an impact on Guatemala’s international relations, including with the EU.”, the Union stressed at another time.
Guatemala’s highest court supports electoral process
In this sense, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala announced that the date for the second ballot is maintained. He even affirmed that Arévalo León and Torres Casanova will be the candidates to run for the presidency.
In a statement, the high court pointed out that the process will be carried out as a continuation of the results of the general elections on June 25. He also highlighted that the actions of the Public Ministry “they lack effects to suspend the continuity and conclusion of the electoral process” that develops.
The Constitutional Court made it clear that by withdrawing the “legal personality of a party”, like what they are trying to do with Semilla, it would transcend the progress of the electoral process.