Guatemala's president-elect says 'coup' under way to prevent him from taking office

© Esteban Biba, EFE

Guatemala's president-elect Bernardo Arevalo on Friday denounced an "ongoing coup" by the country's institutions to block him from taking power, after his political party was suspended.

Arevalo, a 64-year-old sociologist, swept from obscurity to win an August 20 election with his vow to crack down on graft, which observers say has alarmed a corrupt elite.

After a campaign marked by concerns of meddling, Arevalo was on Monday declared the winner of the poll with 58 percent of votes, but the electoral tribunal suspended his Semilla (Seed) Movement.

"There is a group of corrupt politicians and officials who refuse to accept this result and have launched a plan to break the constitutional order and violate democracy," Arevalo told a press conference.

"These actions constitute a coup d'etat that is promoted by the institutions that should guarantee justice in our country."

Arevalo pulled off a massive upset by advancing to the runoff after a first round marked by apathy among voters tired of the poverty, violence, and corruption that pushes thousands abroad every year in search of a better life, many to the United States.

Orellana and Curruchiche are both on a US list of "corrupt actors" and foreign allies slammed meddling in the election process.


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