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News > Latin America

Guatemalan Congress Withdraws Immunity From 4 Electoral Judges

  • Plenary of the Guatemalan Congress, Nov. 30, 2023.

    Plenary of the Guatemalan Congress, Nov. 30, 2023. | Photo: X/ @lanoticiasv

Published 1 December 2023

Guatemalan conservative elites continue trying to prevent the inauguration of President-elect Arevalo in January 2024

On Thursday night, the Guatemalan Congress removed immunity from four sitting justices of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for the alleged illegal purchase of non-official data processing equipment used in this year's elections.


Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office Accuses President-Elect Arevalo

The decision was voted in favor by 108 out of 160 legislators, enabling the electoral judges to be investigated and arrested at any time. The case was initiated by two far-right activists.

Opposition lawmaker Orlando Blanco accused the action of being orchestrated by coup plotters aiming to appoint new justices to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. By doing so, the conservative elites seek to overturn the victory of the President-elect Bernardo Arevalo.

The justices who lost their immunity are Irma Palencia, Mynor Franco, Gabriel Aguilera, and Ranulfo Rojas, who were in charge of organizing the 2023 general elections.

Votes to certify the removal of immunity came from legislators of the "Let's Go" party, led by President Alejandro Giammattei and his allies in Congress.

The accusations against the justices include abuse of authority, fraud, and dereliction of duty, stemming from an investigation by the Prosecutor's Office, an institution which has also been accused of attempting to overturn this year's election results.

The Prosecutor's Office has claimed "irregularities" in the purchase of an electoral results transmission system used in the elections on June 25 and the runoff on August 20.

This transmission system, however, was solely linked to the rapid publication of results for the public and is not connected to official results.

Since July, the Prosecutor's Office has sought to overturn the electoral victory of Bernardo Arevalo, the presidential candidate from the social-democratic Seed party.

"We have never had the situation that is occurring today," legislator Blanco said, warning that conservative elites seek to prevent the inauguration of Arevalo in January 2024

On Sept. 1, the Guatemalan president-elect also dennounced that Attorney General Consuelo Porras is carrying out a "coup" against him to prevent his inauguration."

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