The electoral authority rejected the candidacy, citing an arrest warrant which alleged irregularities during her tenure as chief prosecutor.
Guatemala’s former attorney general, Thelma Aldana, will seek to overturn a decision from the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) preventing her from running for president, Aldana’s campaign manager said on Tuesday.
The electoral authority rejected the candidacy in a decision announced Monday that cited an arrest warrant issued against her, which alleged irregularities during her tenure as chief prosecutor. The warrant was issued by Judge Victor Cruz on March 19, the same day she was officially registered as a presidential candidate.
The alleged charges relate to a corruption inquiry involving illegal hiring, embezzlement, lying and tax fraud. Aldana reiterated that the accusations against her are politically motivated to undermine her bid as the head of state. Since her arrest warrant, the anti-corruption campaigner is residing in neighboring El Salvador, alleging political persecution.
“Why are there so many attacks? Because she represents a serious threat to the various economic, political and illicit interests that operate in the country,” Perez said. Aldana is among the presidential front-runners in recent polls for June 16, 2019, leading with 28 percent ahead of Zury Rios, the daughter of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, and former First Lady Sandra Torres.
Es un privilegio ser perseguida por los corruptos, pero es un mayor privilegio contar con los guatemaltecos de bien. Nos asiste la verdad y contra eso no podrán hacer nada. Estamos muy cerca de verlos caer. Volveremos a las calles pero esta vez a celebrar una nueva Guatemala— Thelma Aldana (@ThelmaAldana) April 2, 2019
The former attorney general (2014-2018) is largely known for pursuing high profile corruption cases as she worked alongside with the U.N.-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig). The international body played a key role in the investigations that caused ex-President Otto Perez Molina to resign due to accusations of corruption, as well as investigated current President Jimmy Morales.
Now Morales, who was elected with a promise for change in 2015, is trying to expel the Commission from the country. Aldana said that if she wins, she would make the government efficient and transparent as well as strengthen Cicig.
After this latest court decision, Aldana will have to opt for one of two options: ask the country’s Supreme Court to reinstate her on the ballot or seek an appeal with the Constitutional Court, Guatemala’s top judicial body.