By David Toro Escobar
Guatemala City, Sept 13 (EFE).- Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office continued on Wednesday to open and inspect boxes of ballots from the first round of elections on June 25, breaking the chain of custody, for the second day in a row.
President-elect Bernardo Arévalo warned that a “coup d’état” was underway to prevent him from being sworn in as president.
Some thirty prosecutors are counting the votes cast by the citizens at the headquarters of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, as EFE was able to confirm.
Arévalo declared that he would not continue the process of transferring power with the current government unless the judicialization of the electoral results was stopped, and demanded the resignation of Attorney General Consuelo Porras.
MEETING WITH THE OAS
Arévalo and his running mate, Karin Herrera, met with the Organization of American States Electoral Observation Mission on Wednesday.
The president-elect explained to the OAS delegates the current situation regarding the transfer of power and expressed his concern about the Attorney General’s Office’s insistence on interfering in the elections.
The Attorney General’s Office has been taking actions against the Seed Movement, the party of the progressive academic Arévalo, who unexpectedly made it to the runoff and won the election against all odds, since July 12.
AN UNPRECEDENTED OPERATIVE
“The Attorney General’s Office has limited the access of the staff of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in addition to increasing the number of security elements,” Luis Gerardo Ramírez, one of the spokesmen for the Tribunal, told EFE.
Ramírez added that the prosecutors have taken possession of 160 ballot boxes and that there is no set deadline for the completion of the operation.
The Attorney General’s Office, whose leadership is under sanctions by the United States, justified its actions by stating that the investigation is due to alleged irregularities in the election.
Irma Palencia, president of the Electoral Tribunal, warned that “the chain of custody of the vote has been broken” and described the prosecutor’s actions as “grotesque.”
A CHALLENGE FOR THE COUNTRY’S HIGHEST COURT
The future of Guatemala’s electoral process is now in the hands of the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, after the Electoral Tribunal and several sectors of civil society filed petitions to stop the prosecutor’s intervention in the election results.
“Everything will be defined before the Constitutional Court, it is the responsibility of the judges to reverse the illegalities that the Public Ministry is committing”, Samuel Pérez, deputy and general secretary of the Seed Movement, told journalists on Wednesday.
In addition, the party of the president-elect filed a criminal complaint against Porras, as well as against prosecutors Rafael Curruchiche and Cinthia Monterroso, accusing them of violating the Constitution and abusing their authority for electoral purposes.
On January 14, Arévalo is scheduled to assume the presidency of Guatemala for the period 2024-2028, the first time a social democratic government has done so in the history of the Central American country. EFE