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Montevideo, May 23rd 2024 - 08:40 UTC

 

 

UN, US and Mercosur call on Guatemala to respect election results and denounce “an attempted coup”

Wednesday, December 13th 2023 - 10:09 UTC
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UN chief Guterres pointed out that the top Elections Tribunal of the country had certified Mr. Arevalo’s landslide victory at the polls in late August UN chief Guterres pointed out that the top Elections Tribunal of the country had certified Mr. Arevalo’s landslide victory at the polls in late August

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Mercosur member countries, the European Union and the US have called on Guatemala authorities to impede the Central American country's Attorney General's office to annul the general election result preventing President-elect Bernardo Arevalo from taking office in January.

In the statement, UN chief Guterres pointed out that the top Elections Tribunal of the country had certified Mr. Arevalo’s landslide victory at the polls in late August. According to news reports in pro government media, his centre-left Seed Movement party has faced several investigations from prosecutors who have alleged party registration and voting irregularities.

Mr. Areavalo reportedly referred to prosecutors' investigations as an “attempted coup”, designed to prevent him taking office on 14 January. The top Electoral Court said the results must stand, and the outgoing Government reportedly issued a statement late on Friday saying the transition of power to Mr. Arevalo was inevitable.

“The Secretary-General trusts that the results of the election as certified by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal will be respected.”

Meantime the Mercosur block (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) asked Guatemala officials “to adopt the necessary measures” to ensure that Bernardo Arévalo de León, effectively takes office in January. The block also expressed its deep concern with the judicial intervention in the electoral process and demanded “the will of the Guatemalan people be respected, as expressed by the overwhelming majority in the runoff of the August presidential election”

“We demand the necessary measures to ensure a harmonic presidential transition that ensures the authorities legitimately elected take office”, insisted Mercosur. But the Guatemala Attorney General said the elections won by Mr. Arevalo are not valid because of alleged administrative irregularities committed by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The invalidity is extensive to presidential, legislative and municipal elections said Leonor Morales, head of Prosecution.

Brazil added that the attitude of the Attorney General obstructs “the democratic process of Guatemala”, and called on authorities to adhere to the democratic commitments in the framework of the Organization of American States chart, OAS, and with the respective branches acting with the necessary urgency and firmness.

From Washington the US went a step further and moved to restrict the visas of most of the lawmakers in Guatemala’s congress as international bodies warned of an “attempted coup” to try to stop the president-elect taking office in January.

Since his shock landslide victory in August, anti-corruption campaigner Bernardo Arévalo has faced pressure from prosecutors who investigated his allies, sought to strip his immunity from prosecution and last week said the election results should be annulled over irregularities.

Candidates and elected politicians are given immunity from prosecution in Guatemala to prevent the misuse of the legal system against them. The EU and the Organization of American States have both warned over the past week of an “attempted coup” in the country.

On Monday the US said it would impose visa restrictions on more than 300 Guatemalans including more than 100 representatives in the country’s 160-member congress. Unnamed business figures and their families would also face restrictions, it said. “The United States strongly condemns ongoing anti-democratic actions by Guatemala’s public ministry and other malign actors who undermine Guatemala’s rule of law,” the US State Department said.

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