Guatemala Electoral Court Says Results Valid Despite Raid

Police agents guard the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala, during a raid ordered by the Public Ministry, in Guatemala City.  Photo: EFE | Confidential

The case for which the raids are carried out has not been detailed by the authorities who allege it is under “judicial reserve.”

By EFE / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The Supreme Electoral Court of Guatemala guaranteed on Saturday the results of the elections held last June and August, despite the “kidnapping” of voting tabulation sheets by the Public Ministry in a raid for a “reserved” case.

The electoral court’s judge, Blanca Alfaro, assured journalists this morning that “all the results have already been duly made official,” including the triumph of the president-elect, Bernardo Arevalo de Leon, who must take office on January 14th.

Alfaro added that the results of the elections “are already certified and that cannot be changed with a diligence.”

Through tears, the judge of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal regretted the raid by the Public Ministry, which began on Friday and lasted through Saturday (September 29-30).

“I don’t know what’s happening to us as Guatemalans,” she said after the Prosecutor’s Office forcibly took the electoral records, which according to Alfaro and the law, must be safeguarded by the electoral court.

The magistrate added that they were physically attacked by prosecutors from the Public Ministry during the raid. “They took all the boxes, with all the results,” she said.

Arevalo de León won the elections on August 20 in a runoff where he surpassed former first lady Sandra Torres, with almost a million votes difference.

The academic, from the Semilla Movement party, denounced on September 1, that the Public Ministry is carrying out “a coup d’état” against him to prevent his inauguration on January 14.

The two-day raid and theft

The case for which the raids are carried out has not been detailed by the authorities, since the Public Ministry has indicated that it is under “judicial reserve.”

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Rafael Curruchiche, stated on Friday in statements to journalists that the objective of the judicial process is to save “democracy” in Guatemala.

However, Curruchiche and the leadership of the Public Ministry have been sanctioned by the United States in the last two years under accusations of “undermining” Justice in Guatemala.

During his statements on Friday, the prosecutor accused the Organization of American States (OAS) of “staining” the democracy of the Central American country.

“This is an operation that is part of a confidential investigation, which seeks to rescue the country’s democracy that has been hit by the OAS,” Curruchiche assured journalists.

Curruchiche was part of a meeting this month between the head of the Public Ministry and the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, who visited Guatemala to supervise the government transition process.

With Friday’s raid, there are now four searches carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office at the headquarters of the electoral court during the last two months, in addition to another at the Movimiento Semilla party, of Arevalo de León.

Arevalo appreciates international support

The president-elect of Guatemala for the period 2024-2028, Bernardo Arevalo, thanked the international support received at the meeting of the Puebla Group in the Mexican city of the same name, after the raid at the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

“We have widespread international support. The international community has seen that what is effectively at stake in our country is a case of defending democracy and has expressed its support for the besieged election authorities, and the people of Guatemala in defending the electoral process,” Arevalo said.

The politician explained that they are proposing the necessary actions before the Constitutional Court and calling on this body to proceed to restore order.

“We have called for some actions, very clearly we have indicated that the people join us in the delivery of legal actions that we are taking against the Public Ministry. We have filed criminal complaints before the Supreme Court of Justice, we have filed protections before the Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court to ensure that what is being done stops,” the president-elect continued.

Arevalo also explained that “the transition continues” because the transition is the established process that goes from the certification of electoral results to the inauguration, a legal political process that should not be interrupted.

“From a legal point of view, we have no doubt, however we are also seeing that the people in these institutions have no limits, they are using justice institutions to commit illegalities,” he concluded.

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