Guatemala President-Elect’s Party Suspended by Electoral Authority

Photo of author

By LatAm Reports Editor

The Citizen Registry, responsible for overseeing political factions, has taken a decisive action by suspending the Seed Movement party of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo. This announcement came on Thursday amid ongoing legal and political turmoil.

Previously, in July, the suspension was set in motion by a judicial order at the behest of the Attorney General’s Office. This occurred just as Arévalo was securing second place in the initial voting round. However, an appellate court later intervened, asserting that suspensions could not be enacted during electoral proceedings, which concluded on October 31.

Despite these legal hurdles, Arévalo triumphed in an August runoff and is poised to assume the presidency come January.

Yet, the Citizen Registry, adhering to the unresolved directive from the original judge, has now implemented the party’s suspension. The Attorney General’s Office accuses the party of irregularities in amassing the signatures needed for its initial registration. Critics, including observers and officials like Attorney General Consuelo Porras, perceive these actions as attempts to sabotage Arévalo’s electoral victory and impede democratic processes.

Luis Gerardo Ramírez, speaking for the registry, has clarified that the suspended party is barred from holding assemblies or conducting administrative tasks. While there’s an opportunity to challenge the Registry’s decision before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the judicial origins of the suspension necessitate a court appeal.

During his visit to Guatemala, Eric Jacobstein, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs from the U.S. State Department, expressed concerns to journalists about the suspension’s implications for Arévalo’s impending presidency.

The broader impact of this suspension, particularly on congressional operations where Seed Movement legislators are expected to serve, remains uncertain. Notably, adversaries within Congress have preemptively branded the incoming legislators as independents, which strips them of the chance to lead committees or secure other influential roles. This move comes despite a court ruling that prevented Congress from blocking Seed Movement lawmakers from leadership positions during the election period.