People celebrated Bernardo Arévalo’s election victory with honking – the left-wing politician embodies the hope for change. But the outcome of the election is far from decided.
Guatemala’s electoral authorities have officially confirmed the victory of left-wing candidate Bernardo Arévalo in the August 20 presidential election. The anti-corruption fighter won the runoff election with 60.91 percent of the votes, the Supreme Electoral Court said on Monday (local time). The ex-first lady Sandra Torres, who has not yet recognized her defeat, came up with 39.09 percent.
However, the outcome of the election is far from decided. Arévalo’s party was temporarily suspended at the request of a judge shortly before the final result was announced. An authority of the electoral court decided yesterday to temporarily withdraw the legal status of Arévalo’s Movimiento Semilla (Movement of Seeds) party because of alleged irregularities in its formation. The party now has three days to appeal. It is unclear what the consequences of Semilla’s suspension will be. The future of the party will later have to be decided by the same electoral judges who confirmed Arévalo’s victory.
The electoral process was overshadowed by attempts by the political establishment and the Attorney General’s Office to use legal means to stop Arévalo’s surprising victory. Five days after the run-off election, Torres’ centre-left party, National Unity of Hope (UNE), contested the vote count. The party filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud with the Attorney General’s Office.
Arévalo is scheduled to take office on January 14, succeeding conservative President Alejandro Giammattei. Arévalo’s team recently reported that there were assassination plans against him. The Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Guatemalan government to take urgent precautionary measures to better protect Arevalo.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.