After new request, Guatemala tribunal reiterates it will not suspend party

Guatemala City, Jul 18 (EFE).- Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (SET) on Tuesday again told the public ministry (prosecutor’s office) that it will not suspend the Movimiento Semilla party led by presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo de León after a new move against the group.

The public ministry was informed in a document delivered by the SET in response to a new request Tuesday by the prosecutor’s office to suspend the political party.

The request, endorsed by a criminal judge of the judiciary, is a new attempt by the prosecutor’s office to suspend the party, which won a shock second place in the first round of the general election on June 25.

Last week, the public ministry caused a political earthquake in suspending Semilla for an alleged case of corruption, and demanded the expulsion of the group from the election.

However, the request and criminal order was annulled by the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest, and therefore the SET did not take it into account.

Despite this, the public ministry tried again on Tuesday to order the suspension of Semilla, but the SET reiterated that the decision of the Constitutional Court must be upheld.

The public ministry orders against Semilla generated a series of demonstrations over July 13-15 in front of the entity, led by Attorney General Consuelo Porras.

In 2021 Porras was sanctioned by the United States with a ban on entering the country, with the state department saying she “obstructed investigations into acts of corruption by interfering with criminal investigations.”

The first round on June 25 was won by right-wing former first lady Sandra Torres Casanova, from the National Unity of Hope.

Arévalo de León, whom the polls had placed in seventh or eighth place, took a shock second place and Semilla was accredited in the same way with 23 deputies of the 160 that make up Congress, thus becoming the third force in parliament.

The second round will take place between Torres Casanova and Arévalo de León on Aug. 20.

The investigation against Semilla is under the charge of section chief Rafael Curruchiche, sanctioned in 2022 by the US, which said he “obstructed investigations into acts of corruption (…) and raising apparently spurious claims against FECI prosecutors, private attorneys, and former International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) prosecutors.”

The criminal order was signed by Judge Fredy Orellana, who has also handled one of the cases accused of journalist José Rubén Zamora Marroquín, one of the main critics of the government headed by Alejandro Giammattei. EFE


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