Guatemala’s top court ends candidacy of leading presidential hopeful

A man in a suit jacket waving as he walks with men in white shirts down a street lined with people and blue-and-white flags
Carlos Pineda of Guatemala’s center-right Prosperidad Ciudadana party arrives at the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City with supporters last week in his losing effort to reverse his exclusion from the presidential election.
(Moises Castillo / Associated Press)
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Guatemala’s top court blocked the candidacy of another presidential hopeful on Friday, this time ending the campaign of poll leader Carlos Pineda over alleged violations of electoral law.

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

“The Constitutional Court has put an end to this country’s democracy,” Pineda told the AP in a phone interview.


“The co-optation of the state prevailed — the rein of corruption and the dictatorship,” he said. “It’s incredible. I feel like [I’m] dead.”

Pineda said his final hope is that a majority of Guatemalans will cast a null vote and that new elections will be held.

Pineda is the third presidential candidate ruled ineligible to run in this election. The court rejected the final appeals of Roberto Arzú on Thursday, and previously ruled against Thelma Cabrera due to a paperwork issue with her running mate.

Fearing corruption and glitches, Guatemalans distrust the process established for them to vote on U.S. soil in their homeland’s presidential election.

March 22, 2023

A fourth candidate, Edmond Mulet, also faces the possibility of exclusion, and is awaiting a decision from the court on his candidacy. The attorney general’s office called for him to be investigated on allegations of starting his campaign too early by speaking out against the persecution of journalists.

Some observers have accused Guatemala’s electoral authorities of using the judicial system to pare down the field to candidates acceptable to the establishment.

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


Pineda, a center-right populist, was running a campaign that caught fire on social media, emerging as the surprise leader in polls earlier this month.

Authorities said his candidacy was voided due to problems in the way his party, Prosperidad Ciudadana, selected him as its presidential candidate.