Weekly Report - 17 August 2023 (WR-23-33)

GUATEMALA: Campaigns close as speculation builds

Fears that the anti-graft presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo, of the centre-left Movimiento Semilla (Semilla), whose shock second-place finish in the 25 June first round has upended Guatemalan politics, would be removed ahead of the run-off have yet to materialise. Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro also said recently that he had secured the commitment from all state powers that the run-off would be held on 20 August between Arévalo, now the clear frontrunner [WR-23-31], and Sandra Torres (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza, UNE), and that President Alejandro Giammattei would hand over power on 14 January to the run-off winner. However, Almagro was also clear that “a worrying situation” persists “in terms of the electoral process and…the functioning of the institutions of a democratic state”. With an Arévalo victory posing the biggest threat to the discredited political establishment in years, doubts persist as to whether these reassurances will endure.

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