Suspension of Guatemala’s president elect’s party creates controversial handover of power

By David Toro Escobar

Guatemala City, Aug 31 (EFE) – The provisional suspension of the Semilla Movement of Guatemala’s president-elect, Bernardo Arevalo, and the decision by Congress not to recognize his party create an unprecedented transfer of power conundrum.

On Wednesday night, Congressman Samuel Perez, head of the parliamentary bloc, said that these are “systematic actions oriented to the elimination of Semilla and the annulment of the popular support it obtained at the ballot box.”

The legislator described the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s decision on Monday to suspend the elected president’s party as “illegal.”

Although the current president, Alejandro Giammattei, assured that there would be an “orderly” transfer of power for Arevalo to assume office on Jan 14, the political situation is unfavorable.

On Wednesday afternoon, the president of Congress, Shirley Rivera, who belongs to the same party as President Giammattei, decided not to recognize Semilla because of an order issued by criminal judge Freddy Orellana on July 12.

Judge Orellana, sanctioned by the US State Department for “undermining justice,” ordered the cancellation of Semilla for an alleged case of false signatures in its creation in 2018.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Sonia Gutierrez, head of the Winaq party’s legislative bloc, said that the actions against Arevalo’s party seek to “corner them and force them to negotiate.”

Since the moment Arevalo advanced to the presidential second round in the July 25 elections, Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal prosecution against the Semilla Movement.

Arevalo, whose central promise is to eradicate corruption from the State, won the Presidency for the period 2024-2028 on August 20 with 2.5 million votes and beating his rival, former first lady Sandra Torres Casanova, of the National Unity of Hope, by 21 percentage points.


The transition process will begin on Sept 4 with vice-president-elect Karin Herrera in charge of leading the process with the Giammattei administration, announced Arevalo.

The Giammattei Administration promised that the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, would monitor the transition process.

According to experts, if Arevalo’s party is eliminated, this would affect his governing capabilities as the 23 deputies elected by Semilla will only be able to exercise some of their legislative functions to the fullest.

Within the next few days, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, will have to decide on the suspension of Semilla and its future.

The OAS and the US Department of State have condemned interferences against the electoral process and the popular will expressed at the ballot box in Guatemala.



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