Guatemala's top elections court suspends ban on president-elect Arevalo's party

© Cristina Chiquin, Reuters

Guatemala's top elections court on Sunday temporarily lifted its disqualification of the party of president-elect Bernardo Arevalo, who was elected on an anti-graft platform last month.

The court announced the move after Arevalo on Friday denounced an "ongoing coup" by the country's institutions to block him from taking power, after his Semilla political party was suspended.

When elections were called earlier this year, the court said the multi-stage electoral process would formally end on October 31, even though voting is now over and there is a winner. The date was seen as a mere formality.

"It is not reasonable or prudent to challenge the status of political organizations ... until the electoral process is over," Supreme Electoral Tribunal spokesman Luis Gerardo Ramirez said.

Arevalo pulled off a big upset by advancing to the runoff after a first round marked by apathy among voters. Poverty, violence and corruption push thousands of Guatemalans abroad every year in search of a better life, many to the United States.

After the first round of voting on June 25, Guatemalan judge Fredy Orellana, at the request of prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, ordered the electoral tribunal to suspend Semilla pending an investigation into alleged anomalies in its party registration.

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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