Court leaves leading presidential candidate in Guatemala polls out of contention

The Constitutional Court of Guatemala left candidate Carlos Pineda out of the presidential elections, who according to the polls was first in the preference of the electorate. Pineda is the third candidate to be excluded from the electoral process.

In a press release, the court said Friday it had rejected appeals by Pineda, of the right-wing political party Prosperidad Ciudadana, against an injunction requested by the CAMBIO party that alleged there were errors in the assembly in which he was elected. as a candidate.

“The Constitutional Court ended the democracy of this country,” Pineda said in statements by telephone to The Associated Press.

“The cooptation of the State, the reign of corruption and dictatorship, prevailed, it’s incredible, I feel like I’m dead,” explained the candidate. Less than a month before the elections – which will take place on June 25 – his participation is no longer possible.

“What I bet on as the last bastion of democracy is the people, asking for a null vote and achieving that they are the majority, the elections can be repeated,” added Pineda.

According to the CAMBIO party, Prosperidad Ciudadana (PC) committed irregularities during that party’s assembly in November 2022, in which the executive committee failed to present economic and financial reports to be approved by the attendees. It adds that the representation of minorities in said assembly was not fulfilled, as stipulated in the Electoral and Political Parties Law.

After the assembly, the PC elected the presidential candidate, as well as candidates to occupy other elective positions such as deputies and mayors. The amparo granted to CAMBIO stopped everything that was done after the assembly.

David de León, spokesman for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, said that the constitutional decision to leave out the presidential candidate also affects more than 1,000 candidates proposed by that party, who are also out of the race and whose credentials the court has already canceled. had given them to participate in the process.

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The day before, the Court also revoked the registration of Roberto Arzú, another right-wing candidate who was running for the presidency, while the Central American country is the target of criticism for what some organizations see as a risk of an inequitable electoral process.

The first party to be left out of the race was the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples, a left-wing force that was running Thelma Cabrera, who was denied registration by the electoral authorities on the grounds that her running mate and candidate the vice presidency, Jordán Rodas, was missing a document that guaranteed that he had no pending accounts with the State.

The European Union, the United States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed their concern about the exclusion of candidates and have asked the Guatemalan State to guarantee political rights, pluralism and participation under equal conditions in the electoral process.

Edmond Mulet is the fourth candidate who has a resolution pending from the Constitutional Court. The prosecution requested that he be investigated for allegedly campaigning early because the candidate spoke out against the persecution of journalists.

If Mulet is also left out, who with Pineda leads the vote according to the polls, the beneficiaries would be the pro-government candidate Manuel Conde and the right-wing candidates Zury Ríos -daughter of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt- and former first lady Sandra Torres.

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