Guatemala’s Arevalo as a result of assume presidency with tough path forward By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo addresses the media after assembly with Honduras President Xiomara Castro, on the Presidential Home, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, January 4, 2024. REUTERS/Fredy Rodriguez

By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo is because of be sworn in Sunday for a four-year time period, pledging to banish deep-rooted corruption, although he’ll come up towards a divided Congress and string of judicial makes an attempt to dam him from wielding energy.

Vowing to revive democracy in Guatemala, essentially the most populous nation in Central America with 17.1 million individuals, Arevalo, 65, gained the August presidential run-off in a sweeping victory.

Within the months after, Guatamala’s legal professional common – seen as an ally of outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei – has intensified makes an attempt to discredit Arevalo’s victory and hinder his transition.

The legal professional common has tried to strip Arevalo and his Vice President-elect Karin Herrera of authorized immunity, droop his Semilla celebration and annul the election. The “coup” try, as Arevalo phrases it, has drawn tens of 1000’s of Guatemalans to the streets and the worldwide neighborhood, together with the USA, has piled huge stress on Giammattei’s administration to proceed with the transition of energy.

The occasions main as much as Arevalo’s inauguration underscore Guatemala’s fragile rule of legislation, with the nation pushed to the brink of a governance disaster that would restrict his means to rule and hold marketing campaign pledges to root out unhealthy political actors, struggle organized crime and create new jobs.

“Issues aren’t over for Arevalo,” mentioned Roberto Alejos, former Guatemalan Congressional and political analyst.

“They aren’t going to let him go any legislation in Congress and he could have loads of difficulties governing,” he added.

Regardless of its overwhelming victory within the presidential elections, Semilla – a social democratic, environmentalist and progressive celebration – barely achieved 23 of the 160 seats within the legislature. Giammattei’s conservative Vamos celebration and UNE, the celebration of former first woman Sandra Torres who Arevalo defeated within the election maintain a mixed larger energy.

That makes Arevalo extra weak to ongoing political assaults, specialists mentioned.

“Actions to criminalize Arevalo and different members of the celebration might proceed,” mentioned Ana Maria Mendez, Central America director of the Washington Workplace on Latin American Affairs (WOLA), a rights group.

“(Legal professional Common Consuelo) Porras’s altering of the constitutional order is a severe risk to governance, stability and peace,” she added.

The legal professional common’s workplace has denied it’s making an attempt a coup and defended its actions as throughout the framework of the nation’s legal guidelines


Arevalo, a profession diplomat, sociologist and son of former President Juan Jose Arevalo, will grapple with a rustic with half its inhabitants residing in poverty, rising prices of residing and violence that could be a most important driver of Central American migrants to the USA.

His authorities will possible be “transitional” since poverty, financial and social rights are structural points tough to alter in 4 years, analysts mentioned.

“We do not imagine that the individuals of Guatemala at this second are ready for (us) to reach with a magic wand,” Arevalo mentioned in an interview with Reuters after his election victory in August.

“What they need to see… is authorities that lastly assume the dedication to work for improvement and to work for the individuals, that’s what we’re going to do,” he mentioned.

The federal government of Arevalo and Herrera should fastidiously steadiness calls for by the USA to stem migration amid record-high remittances that hold the native financial system afloat.

After profitable the presidency, Arevalo mentioned he’ll broaden relations with China, which might indicate a change in coverage for Guatemala’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a transfer that would anger the USA. Arevalo, nonetheless, has denied {that a} nearer relationship with China means breaking ties with Taiwan.

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