Guatemala Supreme Court Ends Leading Presidential Candidate 1 Month Before Voting

Guatemala’s Supreme Court has blocked the candidacy of another presidential hopeful, this time the campaign of poll leader Carlos Pineda, due to alleged violations of electoral law.

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s Supreme Court on Friday blocked the candidacy of another presidential candidate, this time that of poll leader Carlos Pineda, over alleged violations of electoral law.

The Constitutional Court rejected Pineda’s appeal after electoral authorities disqualified him just a month before the first round of voting on June 25.

“The Constitutional Court ended the country’s democracy,” Pineda said in a telephone interview with the AP.

“The co-optation of the state has won, the reins of corruption and dictatorship,” Pineda said. “Unbelievable. I feel dead.”

Pineda said his ultimate hope lies with the Guatemalan people that the majority will cast a void vote and hold new elections.

Pineda is the third presidential candidate to be ruled ineligible to run. On Thursday, the court rejected the final appeal of candidate Roberto Arzú, and previously ruled against Thelma Cabrera because of paperwork with the candidate’s partner.

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The fourth candidate, Edmond Mulet, also faces the possibility of exclusion, who is awaiting the court’s decision regarding his candidacy. The General Prosecutor’s Office requested an investigation because he allegedly started his campaign too early with comments against the persecution of journalists.

Some observers have accused Guatemalan electoral authorities of using the judicial system to whittle down candidates acceptable to the institution.

The European Union, the United States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concern about the exclusion of candidates.

Pineda, a conservative populist, ran a campaign that ignited fire on social media and came to the surprise top of opinion polls earlier this month.

According to the authorities, there were problems with the way his party, Prosperidad Ciudadana, selected his candidate, which invalidated his candidacy.