The attorney general of Guatemala tried to invalidate President-elect Bernardo Arévalo de León’s presidential victory, claiming that the general elections in which Arévalo was elected was plagued with irregularities that would merit a declaration of nullity. This statement, made on Friday, December 8, is being interpreted by various sectors as a coup attempt against the elected government.
“The voting records of the closing of the scrutiny are null and void for the general elections of president and vice president, deputies of the Congress of the Republic by national list, deputies of the Congress of the Republic by electoral district, municipal corporations, and deputies to the Central American Parliament, because these records were not authorized by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal,” said a representative of the Attorney General’s Office, Leonor Morales Lazo, who is in charge of presenting the case to the press.
BREAKING 🚨 A coup is underway in Guatemala. The Attorney General has moved to invalidate the general election and strip all elected officials – mayors, deputies, and the President-elect – of their official titles, opening a targeted investigation of @ProgIntl member @msemillagt. pic.twitter.com/I3W85n4uJv
— Progressive International (@ProgIntl) December 8, 2023
Morales Lazo claimed that the TSE had delegated its own functions “to national and international third parties,” in allusion to the acquisition of a software “that served as a platform for the electoral event.” According to the Attorney General’s Office, the electoral software was used to commit fraud in the counting of votes.
Before Morales Lazo, the director of the Office of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity, Rafael Curruchiche, spoke to the press, announcing the invalidation of the elections. Curruchiche and Attorney General Consuelo Porras have been condemned by the Puebla Group for carrying out a lawfare to prevent President-elect Arévalo from taking office. In August, the legal status of Arévalo’s party, Semilla Movement, was suspended by the judiciary.
Electoral Tribunal responds: ‘The results are unalterable’
In response to the declarations of the Attorney General’s Office, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Guatemala stated that the results of the elections, in which Bernardo Arévalo de León emerged victorious, “are unalterable.”
“We have a president and a vice president who have been accredited and must take office,” the president of the TSE, Blanca Alfaro, said in a press conference held by the electoral body on Friday.
Alfaro ratified that both Arévalo and Vice President-elect Karin Herrera must be sworn in on January 14, 2024, in strict adherence to the Guatemalan Constitution.
“There is no way that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal could repeat any election,” Alfaro emphasized. “If the elected authorities are not sworn in, there would be a breach of the constitutional order.”
She explained that no authority can annul the elections “except if an order comes from the Constitutional Court.”
She added that she was “surprised” at the statements coming from the Attorney General’s Office and stressed that the elections were carried out in strict adherence to the pertinent laws.
OAS denounces coup attempt
On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS) called the actions of the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office a “coup attempt.”
“The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States condemns the coup attempt by the Office of the Attorney General of Guatemala,” the OAS said in a statement.
“The attempt to annul the general elections of this year constitutes the worst form of rupture of democratic order and the consolidation of a political fraud against the will of the people,” the statement added.
It is interesting to see anti-coup statements coming from the OAS this time, given the organization’s track record in having supported a number of coups across Latin America, including in Guatemala itself in 1954, against then President Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, and more recently in Bolivia in 2019 against the elected government of Evo Morales, and in Peru last year against President Pedro Castillo who is still in prison.
(Últimas Noticias) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
- scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/March 3, 2024