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9 Dec, 2023 10:24

President-elect accuses prosecutor’s office of coup attempt

Guatemala’s Bernardo Arevalo is in a standoff with the Public Ministry over an attempt to annul this past summer’s vote over supposed irregularities
President-elect accuses prosecutor’s office of coup attempt

The Central American nation of Guatemala is facing a coup d’etat, President-elect Bernardo Arevalo has claimed, pointing the finger at the country’s Public Ministry for attempting to annul the results of this summer’s election over alleged irregularities.

Arevalo came out on top with 58% of the vote in a run-off in August against former First Lady Sandra Torres. The center-left politician claimed the following month that the “political mafias” would pull out all the stops to prevent his inauguration on January 14, 2024.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the president-elect said: “We are facing an absurd, ridiculous and wicked coup d’etat.” He went on to allege that the supposed putschists are a group of high-ranking officials within the Public Ministry.

Arevalo hailed the Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal for its insistence that the election results cannot be changed. He also called on the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice to step in as well “in defense of democracy and the rule of law.

On Friday, prosecutor Leonor Morales said that apart from the presidential election, the elections for all MPs and mayors this summer should be nullified. The official claimed that the prosecutor’s office had uncovered that the “formats used were not those approved” by the country’s electoral authority.

There are crossed out minutes, there are minutes where there are no signatures from the Vote Receiving Boards, not all of them are there, there are more voters than ballots,” another prosecutor, Rafael Curruchiche, detailed.

He stressed that the investigation did not focus on any one political party or candidate but rather covered all contenders. According to Curruchiche, the findings of the probe will be presented to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which is expected to pass a verdict on the matter.

Commenting on other allegations made by the prosecutor’s office, who earlier also claimed that Arevalo’s party had falsified signatures, the president-elect challenged the Public Ministry to present evidence.

This latest development in Guatemala comes as Latin America is embroiled in another crisis.

On Wednesday, the Spanish daily El Pais reported that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had deployed troops to the border with Guyana as Caracas prepares to claim 160,000 square km of territory known as Essequibo. Earlier this week, Maduro unveiled a new map of Venezuela incorporating the oil-rich region after Venezuelans supported such a move in a referendum on Sunday.

The dispute between the two countries dates back to 1899, when the US assigned Essequibo to what was then the British colony of Guiana – a decision that Venezuela never accepted as legitimate