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Hundreds of Guatemalans took to the streets of the capital this week to protest against the government’s alleged interference in next month’s presidential runoff, another development tarnishing the country’s electoral process, the Associated Press reported.
The demonstrations in Guatemala City come amid a weeks-long political crisis that began after the first round of voting in Guatemala’s presidential elections on June 25.
That vote saw progressive candidate Bernardo Arévalo come in second place among the 22 candidates, while his conservative rival, former First Lady Sandra Torres, finished first.
But the country’s Constitutional Court suspended the certification of the results over complaints of inconsistencies and irregularities in the vote count. Although electoral officials confirmed the results nearly two weeks ago, the Attorney General’s office announced an investigation into how Arévalo’s Seed Movement party obtained the necessary signature years ago to form.
Initially, prosecutors succeeded in obtaining a judge’s decision to suspend the party’s legal status. However, the Constitutional Court later issued a preliminary injunction that prevented the suspension from taking effect.
Arévalo has criticized the raid as illegal, saying it “is part of the political persecution that the corrupt minority that knows it is losing power day by day is carrying out to try to intimidate us, to try to derail the electoral process.”
Guatemalan law prohibits authorities from suspending a political party during an election campaign. The United States has labeled the recent actions by Guatemalan officials as a threat to the country’s democracy.