Q24N (EFE) The Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the episodes of violence registered during the first round of the general elections in Guatemala while pointing out the unreliability of the polls.
This is stated in the preliminary report prepared by the OAS Electoral Observation Mission, which deployed 90 specialists in Guatemala to analyze the course of the elections held last Sunday, June 25.
Left-wing candidate Bernardo Arévalo, with a strong anti-corruption speech, obtained an unexpected second place in the elections, for which he will compete in a second round in August with former first lady Sandra Torres, who led the count.
OAS electoral observers verified that the day of the elections “passed calmly” but “some violent incidents occurred” that forced the suspension of the elections in two municipalities.
In addition, the weeks prior to the vote were marked by “a climate of tension and anticipation of conflict”, with the death of some candidates, assassination attempts and confrontations over voter transfers.
“The mission condemns this type of behavior and reiterates the importance of guaranteeing the exercise of a free vote, in a civic environment and of absolute respect for the popular will,” it said.
The OAS also criticized the “high judicialization” of the elections, with the suspension of many candidacies, because “it eroded the credibility of the process.”
The mission urged politicians to avoid “markings that generate social division” ahead of the second round, and urged the candidates to focus the campaign on “ideas and proposals” and to seek a “greater connection” with the citizenry. .
The delegation also pointed out that there was a “lack of correspondence” between the polls released and the final results, since the polls indicated that Arévalo was going to be in seventh place.
The OAS recalled that the polls have “an impact” on the elections because they influence the media attention received by the candidacies, for which reason it urged polling companies to “review their methodology so that it more accurately captures reality.”
The traditional political class in Guatemala suffered a severe setback with the results of the presidential elections on Sunday, due to the surprise advance of the social democratic group Semilla, led by Arévalo and born from the fight against corruption in 2015.
Since the implantation of democracy in 1986, right-wing or conservative governments have dominated the Guatemalan Congress and also the presidency of the Central American country.
The second electoral round will take place on August 20. The winner will take office on January 14 for a period of four years.