Guatemala opposition party alleges irregularities in presidential election News
randreu, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Guatemala opposition party alleges irregularities in presidential election

The National Unity of Hope (UNE) party raised concerns on Friday about the integrity of the recent presidential election, citing a number of alleged irregularities. UNE is led by former first lady Sandra Torres, who lost in this recent election.

In a statement posted on social media, the UNE executive committee called on authorities to investigate inconsistencies found in voting records and potential issues with the electronic tally system used by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). UNE claimed that their technicians found “many inconsistencies and contradictions” after analyzing physical ballots and data from the electronic tally system used by the TSE. The party specifically called on prosecutors and auditors to probe inconsistencies in voting records, as well as potential issues with the TSE’s electronic tally system used to tabulate and release results.

Some of the anomalies flagged by UNE in their statement include duplicate tally sheets bearing the same polling station number, security codes altered on records, and a surplus of tally sheets recorded in the system versus verified polling logs. They also questioned how over 8,800 records could have been processed within 30 minutes of polls closing, arguing this does not align with standard election procedures.

If the complaints are substantiated, UNE asserts this could represent “electoral fraud that changed the actual voting outcome, violating the popular will.” The party is demanding a forensic computer audit of all election commission systems before any results are certified.

The international community has expressed concern over attempts to undermine the election results in Guatemala. The United Nations Secretary-General emphasized the importance of independent electoral institutions and respecting the will of the voters. In support of the election winners, Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera Aguilar, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Guatemalan government to take necessary measures to protect their lives and personal integrity. Meanwhile, Mirador Electoral, a civil society organization, accused public officials of engaging in voter coercion and abuse of authority for electoral purposes, specifically favoring the UNE through the distribution of vouchers and food bags.

Guatemala has been plunged into a period of unrest and unease since its recent presidential election. The vote was engulfed in legal controversies that inflamed political tensions in the Central American nation. Several center-left candidates were barred by electoral authorities from participating, then a presidential vote recount was ordered after complaints.