The rector of the UAS is linked to the process of abuse of authority; The university has condemned the irregularities in the case

It was a big surprise in the first round and so happened in the final vote of the presidential election. Guatemala,

Bernardo Arevalo, the progressive candidate who breaks with the conservative trend of previous governments and who has presented himself as “Anti-corruption Candidate” In what would backfire the traditional political class, he won the election comfortably this Sunday with 58% of the vote.

his rival, the former first lady Sandra TorresThe presidency was left at the door for a third consecutive term with 37% as the candidate of the UNE, a structure created as a social democracy but which has turned into a marked conservatism and which represents a continuation of the current government. Is.

Thousands took to the streets to celebrate the results, fueled by multiple allegations of corruption in the state, and who claim to see hope for change in Arevalo compared to the institutional decline and more authoritarianism of the Guatemalan government in recent years .

“People are shouting ‘Enough of corruption’ , We will work to guarantee institutions that earn their trust (…). This victory belongs to the people and now, united as the people of Guatemala, we will fight against corruption,” Arévalo said in his first appearance after learning of his victory and in which he predicted his future term in the new government. referred to as the spring.”

“I congratulate Bernardo Arevalo and invite him to begin systematic change the day after the results are official,” tweeted the current president. Alejandro Giammattei.

Arévalo won this Sunday after weeks of uncertainty over whether he could actually run and assume the presidency on Jan. 14, 2024, the deadline.

This is because since his unexpected move to the second round, his Movimiento Semilla party has been the subject of an investigation by the Guatemalan prosecutor’s office for alleged irregularities in its formation, led by Listed by some judges as “corrupt and undemocratic officials” from the United States.

Arevalo and Herrera

Arévalo celebrated his victory with his vice-presidential candidate, Carin Herrera.

And although the Constitutional Court has already halted the suspension order on the party, the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, Rafael Curuciche, insisted last Thursday on the existence of evidence that would “allow him to be suspended after August 20”. Match will happen” assured Semilla.

Arévalo responded this Sunday by feeling “calm” in the face of “political harassment by corruptly selected judges” intended to “intimidate” his candidacy. “We would like to think that the force of this victory will make it clear There will be no attempts to derail the election process. she claimed.

Who is Bernardo Arevalo?

A 64-year-old sociologist and former diplomat, he is the son of Juan José Arévalo, the first popularly elected president in Guatemala since the 1944 Revolution.

His father went into exile during the time of former President Jacobo Arbenz He was overthrown after the military intervention of the United States in 1954, so Bernardo Arevalo was born in Uruguay – something that was used against him by his opponent during the election campaign – and lived with his family in adolescence returned to Guatemala.

During his career, he held positions such as Consul in Israel, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in his home country, and Ambassador to Spain.

He is currently a deputy in Congress for the Movimiento Semilla, a party that first emerged as an analysis group after the 2015 protests that led to the resignation of the then president. Otto Perez Molina, Political corruption was riddled with scandals for which he was eventually convicted.

Bernardo Arevalo

Arévalo was one of the founders of the Movimiento Semilla.

Arévalo was the formation’s first presidential candidate since the former attorney general’s 2019 candidacy. Thelma Aldana It was ultimately not authorized by election officials.

“He is not the first person of the left to come to power in a democratic phase: Social Democrat Álvaro Colom, ironically Sandra Torres’ ex-husband, has already done so. Arevalo has a very progressive position because of its party origins,” he says. Zaheer DabroiOf the Association for Research and Social Studies (ASIES) of Guatemala.

His ideology has already been rejected by the economic elite and groups that have traditionally held power in the country. Many of his opponents described Arevalo as a “communist” and assured that, if he became president, he would take away land from the richest people (which he never said).

What was one of his main campaign flags? fight against corruption in the state A specific anti-corruption cabinet and an oversight commission, which is autonomous from the government, have been created for the same purpose. Although he does not foresee his return, he praised the work of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (SISIG), which was expelled from the country in 2019.

Arevalo Victory Celebration

Thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets to celebrate the results.

He also said that he would request the resignation of the country’s attorney general, Consuelo Porras, He was described as “corrupt” by the US and was responsible for the investigation of dozens of journalists and anti-corruption judges who ultimately opted for deportation. Although he clarified that he would not be able to intervene as these were legal matters, Arévalo expressed his wish that he could return to Guatemala.

He also announced that he would defend the rights of the LGBT population and that his government would not allow any discrimination against them, a statement his opponents confirmed that he would seek to legalize same-sex marriage and promote abortion. Was doing. Arevalo denied this.

fight against corruption

The main challenge for Guatemala’s next president will be to continue trying to improve the living conditions and opportunities for the more than half of the population who live below the poverty line. Half of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition.

The country, which is considered to be the largest economy in Central America, has one of the largest inequalities in Latin America. This is reflected in the migrant crisis which continues to grow and in the absence of adequate basic health and education services, especially in rural areas.

If there is a specific challenge for Arevalo, though, it will be trying to deliver on his main promise of ending corruption, which according to analysts and international organizations, has held the kingdom together for years.

arevalo cartel

Arevalo focused his campaign on the promise of change and the fight against corruption.

“It will be complicated because what we know as a ‘corrupt pact’ has existed in the country for 20 years and will be difficult to undo in four years of government. There are many interests involved and it will not be easy to negotiate with actors who have maintained privileges in the state for so long,” says the Guatemalan political scientist. Gabriela Carrera.

His other proposals include strengthening the National Civil Police in terms of prison control and security, creating jobs through building roads and infrastructure with public investment, introducing more than 400 new health positions, and providing scholarships . for students.

The truth is that the high hopes that many have placed on a new party like Semilla, which promises so many changes, have to come to terms with the fact that There are very few allies.

Among them, some social actors, indigenous authorities and urban and youth groups can enjoy the support that was already decisive in its success by leading a strong mobilization on social networks, buoyed by the results of the first round.

Arevalo Victory Celebration


challenges and difficulties

But it is more likely that it will face disapproval from agents who have enormous influence and influence in the country: Big business and the traditional economic elite, Evangelical churches and the military sector.

“One of the disadvantages of this is that we have a political class that has not expressed the powers of the state around a very nice way of doing politics, but is closely tied to matters of corruption. The purpose of controlling state institutions is to prevent them from being controlled by other actors who may question corruption or mismanagement of funds, and this may become a hindrance to their government”, says analyst Dubroy.

Arevalo’s difficulties can also be seen in Congress with a wide conservative majority, where Semilla has 23 delegates out of a total of 160 behind pro-government VAMOS and Torres’ UNE, which has shown its ability to form coalitions in the past.

But according to Carrera, director of Public Action at Rafael Landívar University, “the hope is that the dialogue with the different actors in the country can work, if something has Arévalo’s profile, it is the possibility of mediation. He is a good negotiator and this could be a great advantage in his future government.”

Sandra Torres

It was the third time that candidate Sandra Torres, who did not appear in public after the election results were announced, remained on the verge of winning the presidency of Guatemala.

However, given that the investigation into Semilla is still ongoing and there is a long period until Arevalo takes office in January, experts recommend remaining pending decisions that may come from the judicial sphere.

Dubroy predicted, “It doesn’t look like this will end Sunday’s election but we will likely continue to see actors trying to manipulate the electoral process.”

“We cannot rule out more surprises as they are being thrown at us from day one of this election process. Whoever wins, I’m sure there will be a lot of disgruntled people The approach can be complicated.” Carrera agreed.

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