A series of protests have recently broken out in Guatemala over the presidential election. Future president Benardo Arévalo won the election, inspiring both celebrations and protests. Opponents of Arévalo claimed voter fraud, and corruption of Arévalo’s political party. The faction is known mainly for its anti-corruption goals and movement towards a true democracy. Arévalo’s party has since been subjected to numerous investigations ranging from corruption based claims to fraudulent formation.

Defenders of Arévalo rally in support of election results. Photo: PBS

Protestors believe that Arévalo’s victory was forged by tampering with votes and have gone so far as to check ballot boxes. Guatemalan Attorney General María Consuelo Porras sides with protests, and allowed police officers to open ballot boxes after the vote was certified. This action had led to additional controversy over the election with residents claiming the opening of the ballot boxes was a violation of privacy and purely undemocratic. Porras has additionally begun and funded many investigations into Arévalo and his political party, and has been heavily involved in legal attacks against the anti-corruption party.

On the other hand, supporters of Benardo Arévalo have rallied in defense of the election. They claim that with the certification of the vote, it has been proven that the election is credible. Additionally, they believe that Porras is the true source of corruption, as she was called out by the United States previously for corruption. Additionally, this portion of the population has been enraged by police officers opening ballot boxes, which they see as a violation of their voter rights and privacy. They have flooded in the streets in protest of the objections to the result of the election.

Much of the objections to the results of the election have come from current government officials, and later their followers, not necessarily people who oppose Arévalo themselves. Supporters of Arévalo claim that these government officials are corrupt and feel as if they are under attack from the anti corruption party, and want to avoid a move towards democracy as it would be to their detriment. However, there are other government officials, such as Francisco Mora, who support Arévalo, and desire making the move towards a more democratic country. Due to the many factors, the controversy has been widespread, and has led to protests both in favor of and against Arévalo. Nevertheless, it is likely that the result will stand, as the vote was certified, and Arévalo will be inaugurated next year.

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