Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has thrown a second candidate out of the race for the presidential nomination.
This comes when the Central American country is the target of criticism and concern that some organizations see a risk of an unfair electoral process.
In a Thursday (25) statement, the court said it had rejected three appeals by presidential candidate Roberto Arzú, whose candidacy had been annulled by the Supreme Electoral Court because he had campaigned in advance.
Arzú is the second candidate to be withdrawn from the June 25 election.
The first was Thelma Cabrera, who was denied registration by the electoral authority because her fellow candidate and vice presidential candidate Jordán Rodas could not produce a document guaranteeing that he had no debt to the state.
The Constitutional Court has yet to rule on the future of two other presidential candidates, namely frontrunner Carlos Pineda – whose candidacy was challenged by another political party due to errors in his nominating convention – and Edmond Mulet, whom prosecutors accuse of campaigning in the run-up to the election for speaking out against the criminalization of journalists.
Thursday’s decision on Arzú’s candidacy is final.
“It’s a definite no, which means we’re out,” David Pineda, who ran for vice president with Arzú for the right-wing Podemos party, told The Associated Press.
Pineda added that they would denounce the situation in international bodies.
Arzú is the son of the late former president Álvaro Arzú (1996-2000).
In his election proposal, he advocated for reintroducing the death penalty, even though it is banned by the San José Pact of Costa Rica, to which Guatemala is a signatory.
The Podemos candidate was registered with the Supreme Electoral Court, and shortly after that, he was removed from the race after the National Convergence Front party of former President Jimmy Morales (2016-2020) filed a nullity suit for allegedly campaigning too early.
Several countries and international organizations have expressed concern about excluding candidates from the race.
The European Union has expressed concern and urged authorities not to obstruct candidacies.
The OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Guatemalan state to guarantee political rights, pluralism, and equal participation in the electoral process. US officials have also expressed similar sentiments.
Phil Gordon, the assistant to the US president and deputy national security adviser, said a few days ago that the United States supports “free, fair, and peaceful elections in Guatemala.”
If Pineda and Mulet, who are leading in the polls, do not run, pro-government candidate Manuel Conde and right-wing candidates Zury Ríos – daughter of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt – and former first lady Sandra Torres would benefit.
On June 25, Guatemalans will elect a new president and vice president and members of Congress, municipal mayors, and deputies to the Central American Parliament.
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