Guatemala’s Constitutional Court ruled an end presidential election campaign for the dark horse candidate, Carlos Pineda, and there is only one month left before voting begins.

Pineda, a conservative businessman with a strong social media following, has appealed to the country’s highest court after a judge suspended his candidacy a week ago, citing his failure to comply with the country’s election laws.

But the Constitutional Court on Friday upheld the lower court’s ruling, which concluded that Pineda had failed to collect signatures from party delegates and submit required financial reports, as required in the nomination process.

The decision prompted a fiery reaction from Pineda, who recently emerged as the front-runner in an opinion poll.

“Corruption won, Guatemala lost,” Pineda wrote on a social networking site.

In another statement, he said that the Constitutional Court had approved “electoral fraud” in its ruling: “We have been left without democracy!!”

A man, elevating himself above a crowd by propping himself up on a car, reaches out to shake hands with the supporters around him.
Supporters greet Carlos Pineda after he left Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, which heard his appeal to stay in the presidential race on May 20. [File: Moises Castillo/AP Photo]

Pineda is the third candidate so far to be eliminated from the presidential race, with the first round of voting scheduled for June 25.

His disqualification of fellow conservative Roberto Arzu came on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the left-leaning Indigenous candidate, Thelma Cabrera, was also barred from the race after her running mate, former human rights official Jordan Rodas, was deemed disqualified.

Rodas allegedly failed to provide a letter confirming that there were no legal proceedings pending against him, leading the court to rule that his entire ticket – including Cabrera – could not register in the election.

The disqualification has been denounced by critics as politically motivated, intended to disqualify candidates seen as unsupportive of the government establishment.

On Twitter, Juan Papier, acting deputy Americas director at Human Rights Watch, denounced Friday’s ruling as “a clear exploitation of the judiciary to ensure an ‘electoral’ result.”

Guatemala President Alejandro Giamatti listens to the first annual report on the second term of Attorney General Consuelo Porras in Guatemala City, Wednesday, May 17.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamatti’s administration has been accused of suppressing critical voices in the country, including members of the media. [File: Moises Castillo/AP Photo]

Outgoing management President Alejandro Giamatti He has previously been accused of suppressing dissent in Guatemala.

Earlier this month, ElPeriodico, a 27-year-old investigative news agency, said it was Force to stop and its daily publications “intensified” after the “persecution” of its employees. Its founder, Jose Rubén Zamora, had previously been arrested on money laundering and racketeering charges.

Under Giamatti, an estimated 30 legal experts and anti-corruption officials — including judges and lawyers — have done so. They fled the country After his administration pursued investigations against them.

Many of these characters have connections to people who are now closed off International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)It is an independent organization supported by the United Nations to eradicate corruption in the country.

Those who remain face possible arrest and trial. On Friday, Guatemalan police arrested Stuardo Campos, a prosecutor focused on crimes against immigrants who previously worked on anti-corruption cases.

The far-right Anti-Terrorism Foundation has filed a complaint against Campos alleging he abused his power.

In response, Campos said, “This complaint is false.” “I know that my work as an anti-corruption prosecutor has earned me hostility in many sectors.”

Giamatti is not eligible for re-election in the June race, but his conservative party, Vamos, has a rival candidate: Manuel Conde. However, no political party in Guatemala has managed to win consecutive presidential elections.

On Wednesday, days before his removal, Pineda had topped the list of presidential candidates. He advanced by 22 percent support among voters. On his heels was former First Lady Sandra Torres with 20 percent, followed by Zuri Rios – the former president’s daughter. Efrain Rios Montwho was accused of genocide – and the diplomat Edmund Mollet.

30 political parties are expected to compete. Pineda represented the Prosperidad Ciudadana – or “Citizen’s Prosperity” party.

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