Guatemala’s highest court ends candidacy of another presidential candidate 1 month before vote

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s highest court on Friday blocked the candidacy of another presidential candidate, this time ending poll leader Carlos Pineda’s campaign for alleged violations of election law.

The Constitutional Court rejected Pineda’s appeal after electoral authorities declared him ineligible just a month before the June 25 first round of voting.

“The Constitutional Court has put an end to the democracy of this country,” Pineda told the AP in a telephone interview.

“State co-optation prevailed, the reign of corruption and dictatorship,” Pineda said. “It’s unbelievable. I feel like I’m dead.”

Pineda said his last hope rests with the people of Guatemala, that the majority will vote null and that new elections will be held.

Pineda is the third presidential candidate deemed ineligible. The court on Thursday rejected candidate Roberto Arzú’s final appeals and previously ruled against Thelma Cabrera due to a paperwork issue with her running mate.

A fourth candidate, Edmond Mulet, also risks exclusion, pending a court decision concerning his candidacy. The attorney general’s office has called for his investigation for allegedly launching his campaign too soon by making comments against the persecution of journalists.

Some observers have accused Guatemala’s electoral authorities of using the judicial system to reduce the number of candidates acceptable to the establishment.

The European Union, the United States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concern about the exclusion of candidates.

Pineda, a conservative populist, running a campaign that caught fire on social media, emerged as the surprise leader at the top of the polls earlier this month.

Authorities said there were problems in the way his party, Prosperidad Ciudadana, selected its candidate who canceled his candidacy.


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