OAS urges Guatemalan authorities to move forward with election process


By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – The Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the Guatemalan Constitutional Court’s (CSJ) decision to continue reviewing the results of June 25 elections, where political party challenges have delayed the official results to determine who will compete in an August 20 runoff.

According to preliminary results, anti-graft candidate Bernando Arevalo bucked forecasts to earn 11.8% of the vote, enough to secure a spot on the upcoming ballot. He trailed only behind former first lady Sandra Torres, with 15.8% of the vote.

The CSJ ordered last weekend a review of the votes after a coalition of nine right-wing parties, including that of Torres, who qualified for the second round, requested the comparison and the suspension of the results for possible “fraud.”

“The Mission verified that no serious irregularities were revealed and that no significant changes were registered with respect to the preliminary results of Sunday, June 25,” the OAS said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced that the preliminary results “remain unchanged” and the final results for those who will run in the August 20 ballot, Torres and Arévalo, will be made official next week. However, on Friday night, the CSJ resolved to extend the suspension of the results for 10 more days.

The electoral process in the Central American country has been strongly criticized by international and national organizations due to this unprecedented suspension of the official results.

“With the extension of the electoral process, the campaigns are deprived of unrecoverable days, which affects just as much the candidates to be able to present their proposals, as the citizens to cast a more informed vote,” the OAS said in its statement.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu. Writing by Anna-Catherine Brigida, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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