Guatemalan presidential candidate blasts “corrupt” elite

Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala, Jul 16 (EFE).- “The corrupt will do anything not to lost power,” Guatemalan presidential candidate Bernardo Arevalo de Leon said here Sunday while campaigning for the Aug. 20 runoff.

“They are going above the constitution. They are going above the laws and they want to go above the popular will, but the people will tell them ‘no,'” he said during a rally in Santa Maria de Jesus, an indigenous village 50 km (30 mi) west of Guatemala City.

The gathering with hundreds of supporters outside a church capped Arevalo’s first weekend of campaigning after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) certified the results of the first round of voting on June 25.

Former first lady Sandra Torres, representing the center-right UNE, was the top vote-getter, followed by Arevalo, who shocked Guatemala’s elite by qualifying for the runoff after running eighth in pre-election polls.

Arevalo, the son of a former president, is the standard-bearer of Movimiento Semilla, a social-democratic party that grew out of large anti-corruption demonstrations in 2015.

“The people will not allow this corrupt elite to rob them of the victory at the polls,” the 64-year-old lawmaker said.

Last Thursday, the Constitutional Court quashed a ruling by a lower court blocking Arevalo from taking part in next month’s presidential runoff.

Prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, sanctioned by the United States government last year for allegedly fabricating cases against former prosecutors who put officials behind bars for graft, accuses Semilla of accepting illegal campaign contributions and of falsifying signatures to get on the ballot.

While the court that issued the injunction excluding Semilla also heard one of the cases against award-winning journalist Jose Ruben Zamora Marroquin, who has been behind bars since July 29, 2022, five days after his newspaper published a report about the corruption of outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei and his inner circle.

EFE dte/dr

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