5 Keys to Understand the Eventful Process of Command Transition in Guatemala

Bernardo Arévalo is the elected president of Guatemala. The possession will take place in January of next year. However, the command transition process has been difficult. We give you 5 keys to understand the situation in Guatemala .

Alejandro Giammattei and Bernardo Arévalo

Photos: TW-DrGiammattei, TW-BArevalodeLeon


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Leer en español: Las 5 claves para entender el accidentado proceso de transición de mando en Guatemala

Guatemala is in the midst of the transition of command between the current president, Alejandro Giammattei, and his successor, Bernardo Arévalo de León, amid controversy and uncertainty due to the judicial intervention of the Public Ministry (Prosecutor's Office) in the elections.

Below are five keys to thoroughly understand the eventful process of change of command in Guatemala and its protagonists:

1.An official victory

The presidential duo of the Semilla Movement, headed by Arévalo de León and Karin Herrera, received this week the credentials from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which certify them as president and vice president, respectively, for the period 2024-2028.

Arévalo de León has stated that the electoral magistrates were constituted as "a bulwark" to defend the results of the elections of June 25 and August 20 (runoff), in the face of attempts by different actors to disown their victory.

The certification of the elected authorities occurred four days after Arévalo de León publicly denounced that an attempted "coup d'état" was underway, promoted by the head of the Public Ministry (Prosecutor's Office), Consuelo Porras, among other actors, to prevent him from taking possession on January 14.

2.Command transition in motion

With the unusual supervision of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, on September 4, the official transition process between Giammattei and Arévalo began.

Almagro had to arrive in Guatemala to monitor the process, at the invitation of Giammattei, according to the president on a national network. The OAS secretary warned in an extraordinary session on September 1 that "any other option" other than the investiture of Arévalo de León on January 14 "will be seen as a constitutional breach."

The transition will take place from September until next January 14, the date on which the investiture of Arévalo de León and his new Government, the first of a social democratic nature in Guatemala, is scheduled.

Read also: Karin Herrera, Elected Vice President of Guatemala: "May my Participation Motivate Other Women"

3. Latent threat from the prosecution

Although the new authorities were made official and the process of transition of command has begun, experts and analysts do not rule out further actions by the Public Ministry (Prosecutor's Office) against the Semilla Movement, to prevent its investiture, due to an alleged case of false signatures in 2018.

On Tuesday, after a meeting with Almagro, the attorney general, Consuelo Porras, rejected in a statement carrying out a "coup d'état" and at the same time indicated that "the investigations" of the electoral case will continue for the alleged "victims" of the same .

The leadership of the Public Ministry is sanctioned by the United States, under accusations of "undermining" Justice in the Central American country. Since July to date, he has raided the headquarters of the political party and also the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in addition to requesting the withdrawal of immunity for its magistrates.

4. Giammattei's role

On August 20, the day of Arévalo's victory in the second round of elections, Giammattei sent a congratulatory message to Arévalo de León at night and promised an orderly transition after the confirmation of his victory.

That same day, however, in statements to journalists, alarms grew from the opposition and other sectors.

"This Government will hand over power on January 14, whatever time it is, when Congress ends its session," he said. "If otherwise, the session in Congress was delayed and there was any danger of not being able to have the session of handover of power before 12 at night, we would hand over the position to the Congress of the Republic, and we would withdraw. of the position".

Former presidential candidate Roberto Arzú García-Granados warned that Giammattei had a plan to hand over power to Congress, where he has a majority, and thus circumvent a potential handover of power to Arévalo de León, backed by a suspension of the Semilla Movement.

5. International observation

Pressure from abroad has been constant for Guatemala, especially after the OAS session last September 1 where a jointly signed document has determined that the Public Ministry has become judicially involved in the elections.

At that meeting, Almagro received "greater authority" from the OAS to inspect the political crisis in the Central American country, another reason for his visit this week.

For his part, the United States Undersecretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, also visited Guatemala and met with Giammattei and Arévalo de León, as well as other political actors.

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