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Secretary of State Blinken: U.S. expresses deep concern over interference in Guatemala’s election

Posted: Monday, July 3, 2023. 5:00 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: The U.S. has expressed profound concern regarding potential interference in the first-round presidential election results in Guatemala, according to a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, Reuters reported. This statement was issued after Guatemala’s top court called for a review of the ballots.

“The U.S. is deeply concerned about efforts to interfere with Guatemala’s first-round presidential election result,” Blinken said. He emphasized that the U.S. government endorsed the findings of observer organizations, including the Organization of American States, regarding the validity of the vote.

According to Reuters, Blinken stressed that undermining the outcome would pose a “grave threat to democracy with far-reaching implications.”

The top court in Guatemala ordered a review of the ballots from the June 25 election following challenges to the results by the party of the front-runner and its allies, potentially paving the way for a recount before the runoff vote scheduled for August 20.

Sandra Torres, the former first lady who won the first round, alleged manipulation of votes, as reported by Reuters. In contrast, Bernardo Arevalo, the surprise close runner-up to Torres, criticized Torres’ vote review request as legally unjustified and a risk to the electoral process.

In response to these developments, Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry issued a public statement addressed to the international community. The ministry requested respect for its sovereignty and adherence to the principle of non-intervention in its internal affairs, according to Reuters.

The ministry also affirmed its respect for the independence of Guatemala’s electoral authorities and its judicial branch.

On Sunday, Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared that it would comply with the court’s decision and direct its local branches to review the ballots within five days. The Tribunal had already completed a review on June 30.

As reported by Reuters, the European Union, which monitored the vote and endorsed the results announced by the Electoral Tribunal, urged Guatemala’s institutions and political parties to respect the electoral process and what it referred to as the “clearly manifested will of citizens.”

The developments surrounding the election reveal significant international interest and concern over the preservation of democratic processes in Guatemala.


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