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08/07/2019 | Guatemala - Over 23,000 extra votes nulled and void in Guatemala elections

Caribbean News Now contributor

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala Three weeks after the Guatemalan presidential election, and subsequent to difficulties associated with the transmission of the results by computer systems, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) cannot explain why 23,000 extra votes were originally counted and how the voters were registered.


The finding was made after comparing candidates’ official figures with the ones that appear on the TSE website. The TSE confirmed two weeks ago that its system had made an error in the vote-counting process. Nine political parties have had more than 2,000 votes each subtracted from their totals as the TSE numbers continue to reveal inconsistencies.

Javier Zepeda, executive director of the Chamber of Industry, explained previously that “ one should not take for speculation or misrepresent what was a calculation error with a fraud.”

The electoral body has denied any kind of fraud several times, and its director, Gustavo Castillo, previously explained the agency’s own software was to blame. Castillo said the error was human and that some party numbers on ballots weren’t clear or legible, so data was registered incorrectly.

“We have many cases of typos where we find a seven that looks like a four, or a five that seems to be an eight, and things of that kind. That’s why it happens,” Castillo said.

When asked for a technical explanation, he replied he doesn’t have one and he would have to analyze the appearance of some 23,000 votes that aren’t registered to specific voters.

Guatemalan state prosecutors raided the offices of the TSE as part of an investigation of alleged irregularities regarding national vote-counting.

Despite the differences between official figures and the ones on the site, candidates for the second round of presidential elections are: Center-left, Sandra Torres of the National Unity of Hope party, and Center-right, Alejandro Giammattei of Vamos.

In related matters, Guatemalan authorities have issued an arrest warrant for former Attorney General Thelma Aldana for allegations of irregular hiring during her tenure. The international arrest warrant was ratified June 28, the current Attorney General Consuelo Porras confirmed.

In May, Aldana’s attempt to run as a presidential candidate was rejected by the Guatemalan constitutional court. According to Martin Guzman, the court’s secretary, Aldana had failed to meet the requirements of being a candidate.

Aldana who is well-known for her anti-corruption platform said in a statement:

“It has become evident that the fight against corruption and criminal structures in our country has a very high cost,” Aldana added, “I will continue to struggle to transform the country.”

Aldana gained notoriety for support of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a body created by the United Nations to fight corruption in Guatemala.

She was pivotal in bringing ex-president Otto Perez and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti to justice.

Caribbean News Now (Estados Unidos)


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