First change: January 16, 2024 – 3:50 p.m
Bernardo Arévalo was sworn in as President of Guatemala in the early hours of this Monday, January 15, after months of judicial investigations against him and his party, the Semilla Movement. Arévalo's inauguration was delayed for more than eight hours because of obstacles in Congress appointing the executive branch of the legislature that swore him in as president. One of several obstacles since the Progressives' election victory in August 2023. Although he managed to take office, the path appears complex. What are the challenges of the new government? We analyze it in this edition of El Debate.
After months of legal battles and an hours-long inauguration, Bernardo Arévalo was finally sworn in as Guatemala's new president.
But as Arévalo reaches the executive branch, his party, the Semilla Movement, is fighting not to be suspended, which could limit Arévalo's room for maneuver in the Congress of the Republic.
But the battle is not just between the executive and legislative branches. On the legal side, the Attorney General and head of the Public Ministry, María Consuelo Porras, has taken measures to prevent Arévalo from coming to power. For example, his office searched several times the headquarters of the Supreme Electoral Court, where part of the votes with which Arévalo won in August 2023 were located.
Also read “Never again authoritarianism”: Arévalo was sworn in as president of Guatemala after a barrage of obstacles
In addition, the Secretary of State ordered the arrest of four election judges less than a week before the presidential inauguration. On his orders, they also arrested former government minister Napoleón Barrientos for failing to comply with an order from October last year to repress demonstrators who were protesting against prosecutor Porras and in support of Arévalo. Even the current Vice President Karin Herrera asked the Constitutional Court to confirm her immunity so that she would not be arrested, as the version was spread that the public prosecutor's office was after her.
With this internal break, will Guatemala's new president succeed in saving the country from the corrupt, as he always promises? What immediate challenges await Arévalo’s government? We talked to our guests about:
– Andrés Suárez Jaramillo, France 24 Central America correspondent.
– Carmen Rosa de León-Escribano, researcher and representative of the NGO IEPADES in Europe.
– Édgar Ortiz Romero, lawyer, expert in constitutional law and political risks.