The fight to make official the results of the first round of the presidential elections in Guatemala continued on edge this Monday after the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) issued an order blocking the certification.
The president of the Supreme Court, Silvia Patricia Valdés Quezada, ruled in three rulings signed only by her and leaked to the local press not to make the results of the June 25 general elections official.
Valdés Quezada asked the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for a report that explained how the revisions of the records that collected the votes were carried out, how the records were compared against the computer system used to give previous results and if pertinent modifications were warranted.
Pablo Hurtado, secretary of the Association for Research and Social Studies, ASIES, expressed that the lack of certainty negatively impacts the electoral process.
“There has been a process of loss of trust and credibility in public institutions. All of this has led to the fact that more and more mechanisms are found in judicial processes to resolve controversies of a political nature, which respond more to particular interests than to the protection of the democratic system itself.
On Saturday, hundreds of people peacefully protested in front of the TSE headquarters asking that the result of the elections be made official. David de León, spokesman for that entity, confirmed to AP on Saturday that the court requested reports from the Electoral Boards that reviewed the challenges and that they should be sent in response to the CSJ.
Meanwhile, the experts do not rule out that new legal resources that are presented before the courts continue to hinder the progress of the second round.
“It makes us a bit concerned that this is happening, that more resources will reach the courts and the way in which these courts are going to decide to respond to legal resources,” said Mónica Marroquín, deputy director of the organization Guatemala Visible, which forms part of the electoral observers.
For its part, the United States continues to express its concern about respect for the will of the people, as expressed last week by the accredited ambassador to Guatemala, William Popp.
“The delay in elections can create difficulties in the process, everything should be considered within the framework of the law, respecting the popular will of the Guatemalan people. Like all the partners, we are interested in the process continuing and that on August 20 there will be an election for the second round of the future president of Guatemala”, said Popp.
The electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) also said in a statement that it views with concern “the attempt to continue judicializing the electoral process,” and assured that the tone used by the presidency of the CSJ towards the electoral body.
For the second round, in which the successor to President Alejandro Giammattei will be elected, two of the favorites in the vote intention polls and the ruling party candidate were left out.
The results of the review hearings did not show significant changes, therefore, the presidential runoff should be disputed between Sandra Torres, from the UNE Party, and Bernardo Arévalo, from the Seed Party, who have also requested that the official results be speeded up to start the election campaign.
If the results are not made official, the candidates are prohibited from continuing with the electoral campaigns to win the vote of the population. According to the electoral calendar, 9.3 million Guatemalans are called to vote in the second round.
[Con información de la periodista de VOA en Guatemala Eugenia Sagastume y The Associated Press]
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