- Guatemalan authorities on Friday raided offices belonging to Movimiento Semilla (Seed Movement), a leftist political party, over alleged improprieties in its formation.
- Semilla’s presidential candidate, Bernardo Arévalo, advanced to the August 20 runoff election after a strong first-round showing in June. He will face off against Sandra Torres, a conservative former First Lady of Guatemala.
- Arévalo called the raid “part of the political persecution that the corrupt minority that knows it is losing power day by day is carrying out to try to intimidate us.”
Guatemalan agents and police raided the offices of the Seed Movement of presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo on Friday as part of an investigation into alleged wrongdoing in the party’s formation.
Andrea Reyes, a lawyer and party member, confirmed that the agents and police had come to search for documents. The Attorney General’s Office also confirmed the search.
In an audio recording shared with journalists, Arévalo denounced the raid as illegal and said it “is part of the political persecution that the corrupt minority that knows it is losing power day by day is carrying out to try to intimidate us, to try to derail the electoral process … to try to topple democracy.”
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The raid followed allegations earlier Friday by Guatemalan electoral authorities that a number of state actors were attempting to interfere with the country’s presidential election. The electoral authorities sought an order from the country’s highest court to protect the electoral process.
The country’s political system has been in disarray since the progressive Arévalo placed a surprising second in an initial round of voting June 25 — setting him on course to face conservative former first lady Sandra Torres in a runoff in August.
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Certification of last month’s results were delayed for two weeks and the Attorney General’s Office announced an investigation into how the party had gathered the necessary signatures several years earlier to form. Prosecutors initially won a suspension of the party’s legal status from a judge, but the Constitutional Court granted a preliminary injunction blocking it.
As part of that investigation, agents searched the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for a second time on Thursday. That led the tribunal to seek an injunction from the Constitutional Court on Friday to protect the electoral process.
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Arévalo is scheduled to Torres, the first round’s leading vote-getter, in a runoff election Aug. 20 to succeed President Alejandro Giammattei.