Statement: Developments in Guatemala post elections  

NIMD echoes the global call on all Guatemalan institutions and branches of government to fully respect the outcome of the elections, as certified by the country’s highest electoral authority. We urge Guatemala’s people to refrain from any actions that could undermine these results or jeopardize a peaceful and orderly transition.  

As a longstanding democracy support organization in the country, NIMD Guatemala accompanied an independent electoral observation mission during the recent elections in August 2023, where the Semilla party and their party leader Bernardo Arévalo won a majority vote in the second round.  

Through this mission we observed that the elections were fair, as was confirmed by the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal.  

However, instead of respecting the outcome of the free and fair elections, some state institutions in Guatemala are now making allegations of fraud and questioning the integrity of the electoral process.  

The current situation is growing increasingly worrying. At the fore stand the recent raids carried out by the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI). The FECI raided the offices of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and seized computer material related to the Transmission of Preliminary Election Results (TREP). There have also been reports of unwarranted opening of electoral ballot boxes. These boxes had already been counted and endorsed by trained voluntary citizens. 

Democracy and the Rule of Law are both at stake now in Guatemala. The country’s electoral law clearly states that public institutions must put the people first and operate within the Rule of Law; it is essential in maintaining a free, democratic and fair society. When people vote through free and fair elections, public institutions must respect their choice and ensure that the dialogue between multiple parties is continued within the democratic system.  

For Guatemala, the road to a multiparty democracy has not been easy, but the country has come a long way from the armed internal conflict, military dictatorships, and authoritarian regimes that marked its past. There is increasing demand for democratic change and a growing consensus to fight against corruption. As NIMD, we have been supporting these important developments towards a more inclusive and multiparty democracy since 2002 and will continue to encourage political actors to engage in dialogue and respect the democratic rules of the game in Guatemala. 

Find out more about our work in Guatemala here