The Stink of Desperation

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The electoral body responsible for regulating political groups in Guatemala suspended the Seed Movement Party of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo, adding another challenge for the anti-corruption politician as he prepares to take office early next year, the Associated Press reported.

The move came months after a court ordered the party’s suspension following a request from the Attorney General’s Office in July. Authorities cited allegations of misconduct in how the Seed Movement gathered the required signatures for registration years ago.

However, a higher court overruled that court’s decision, saying the party cannot be suspended during the election cycle – which officially ended on Oct. 31.

But after the date passed, the Citizen Registry announced the Seed Movement’s suspension, saying that the original court’s order remained pending.

The electoral body’s decision comes months after Arévalo went on to win the country’s presidential runoff in August and is scheduled to take office in January.

Even so, the president-elect and his party have faced a series of difficulties during and after the election, prompting accusations that the government is attempting to undermine them.

Following the Citizen Registry’s decision, the Seed Movement is now unable to hold assemblies or carry out administrative procedures. Although it can appeal the registry’s decision to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the appeal would have to go through a court because of the judge’s order.

Critics warned that this suspension is unprecedented and politically motivated. US officials expressed concern that the party’s suspension could impact Arévalo’s transition to office.

Arévalo has labeled the suspension an attempted “coup d’état” by the authorities to prevent his inauguration on Jan. 14. Mass protests and road blockades have erupted in response to these legal actions, with demonstrators demanding the resignations of key officials and judicial reform, according to El País.

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