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Guatemalan president-elect suspends presidential transition process

Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arévalo de León has announced he is temporarily suspending the presidential transition process after Public Ministry agents raided electoral facilities and opened voting boxes.

“We have informed President (Alejandro) Giammattei that we are temporarily suspending our participation in the administrative transition process while the necessary institutional political conditions are reestablished,” Arévalo posted Tuesday local time on X.

Arévalo was expected to be sworn in as president of Guatemala on January 14, 2024.

The president-elect denounced the raids, during which Public Ministry agents opened ballot boxes and photographed their contents, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

The Public Ministry is investigating allegations that Movimiento Semilla – Arévalo’s Party – used forged signatures when it was seeking authorization as a political party.

Arévalo also called for the resignation of Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras and other government officials over the incident during a press conference on Tuesday.

“Today’s actions constitute flagrant crimes of abuse of authority for electoral purposes and violation of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala,” the president-elect wrote on X.

Arévalo has filed a court complaint over the incident.

The president-elect has previously alleged that powerful groups headed by the country’s Attorney General are opposed to his victory and are involved in an “ongoing coup.”

Incumbent President Giammattei spoke by phone with the secretary general of the Organization of American States to officially notify him of the suspension of the transition process.

Giammattei said the presidency is willing to resume the transition process and described Arévalo’s decision to suspend it as “unilateral.”

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala (TSE) held its own press conference to denounce the latest actions of the Public Ministry.

Irma Palencia, the TSE’s president, said those actions had put the Guatemalan electoral system and democracy “at risk” and had violated the “civic rights of citizens expressed at the polls.”

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