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As Elections Approach Guatemalan Democracy in Crisis

First Posted: Jun 14, 2019 10:51 AM EDT
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As Elections Approach Guatemalan Democracy in Crisis

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Uncertainty hangs over the upcoming election in Guatemala. On June 16, the country will go to the polls to elect a successor to former comedian Jimmy Morales, who rode a wave of anti-corruption protests to office as an outsider candidate in 2015.

They will also elect some 158 congressional representatives, 338 mayors, and 20 parliamentary members for the Central American Parliament. The process has been marred by lawsuits and violence, including the assassination of a left-wing mayoral candidate, part of a string of attacks against Indigenous and rural organizations in the country.

The elections stand against a backdrop of a growing constitutional crisis as the ongoing struggle between the president and the UN-backed anti-corruption body, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) continues. With major presidential candidates like former Attorney General Thelma Aldana and Zury Ríos -the daughter of dictator Efraín Ríos Montt- barred from running, Sandra Torres, a center-right candidate who faced Morales in 2015 in the second round, is widely seen as the frontrunner.

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