GUATEMALA CITY, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo has temporarily suspended his participation in the government transition, he said in a news conference on Tuesday, as actions by authorities fueled doubts around the transfer of power.
The announcement came after the top prosecutor’s office in the Central American country raided facilities run by Guatemala’s main electoral tribunal on Tuesday.
Arevalo has called the prosecutor’s office’s investigation of his electoral victory last month part of a coup attempt, and described Tuesday’s raids as “flagrant crimes of abuse of authority for electoral purposes” that violated Guatemala’s constitution.
Arevalo said his participation in the transition would resume once the “necessary institutional (and) political conditions are reestablished.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Organization of American States (OAS) said it was “extremely concerned” about the raids, which it said involved the opening of electoral packages and violated Guatemalan electoral law.
“These actions constitute further proof that the Public Prosecutor’s Office… has been intensifying a strategy of questioning the electoral process and intimidating electoral authorities, electoral personnel and the thousands of people who … carried out two days of peaceful and transparent voting,” the OAS said in a statement.
In a statement, outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei’s government said it respected Arevalo’s decision but did not agree with it because it was made as a result of actions beyond the executive branch, “which do not interfere with the process that had been developed to date.”
“We reiterate our firm willingness to immediately resume the transition process as soon as the elected authorities request it,” the government added.
Arevalo, who campaigned on pledges to tackle corruption, resoundingly won the Aug. 20 second-round run-off election. Prosecutors had threatened to bar his party, Semilla, from the election, prompting an international outcry.
Shortly before electoral tribunal officials declared Arevalo the victor, his party Semilla was notified that a branch of the tribunal suspended the party over registration flaws. The tribunal has since temporarily revoked the suspension order through October.
Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Brendan O’Boyle; Writing by Carolina Pulice and Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Gerry Doyle
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Elaine Hadley is a dedicated journalist covering the ever-evolving landscape of U.S. news. With a keen interest in politics and a commitment to uncovering the truth, she provides insightful commentary and in-depth analysis on domestic issues. When not reporting, Elaine enjoys exploring the diverse cultures and landscapes of the United States.