Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arévalo de León has declared a temporary halt to the presidential transition process in response to a raid by Public Ministry agents on electoral facilities, during which they opened voting boxes.
In a statement, Arévalo stated, “We have informed President Alejandro Giammattei that we are suspending our participation in the administrative transition process until the necessary institutional and political conditions are restored.”
Arévalo was scheduled to be inaugurated as Guatemala’s president on January 14, 2024.
The president-elect strongly criticized the raids, which saw Public Ministry agents opening ballot boxes and photographing their contents, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
The Public Ministry is conducting an investigation into allegations that Movimiento Semilla, Arévalo’s political party, used fraudulent signatures during its authorization as a political party.
Additionally, Arévalo called for the resignation of Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras and other government officials in connection with the incident, characterizing the actions as “flagrant abuses of authority for electoral purposes and violations of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala.”
Arévalo has taken legal action against the incident, and he has previously claimed that influential groups led by the country’s Attorney General are opposed to his victory and are engaged in an “ongoing coup.”
Incumbent President Giammattei communicated the suspension of the transition process to the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States during a phone call, stating that the presidency is open to resuming the transition process and describing Arévalo’s decision to suspend it as “unilateral.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala (TSE) also condemned the recent actions of the Public Ministry in a press conference. TSE President Irma Palencia asserted that these actions had jeopardized the Guatemalan electoral system and democracy, as well as infringed upon the civic rights of citizens expressed at the polls.