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Elections 2023: Some Controversial Nominations for President and Vice President

Please keep in mind that thousands of nominations, by candidates that meet all requirements, are being registered normally. Having said that, let us review sot posts in this election.me of the most controversial nominations for the most prominen

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Ronald Flores |
02 de marzo, 2023

There are thousands of candidates for the different public post up for multi-level simultaneous election in the 2023 General Elections (340 Municipality Councils, 160 Congress seats, 20 Central American Parliament seats and President and Vicepresident). Few nominations have been questioned, appealed or rejected. Of particular interest, those candidates nominated for President or Vice President. If a given candidate is not registered, it does not stop or block all other nominations by the same party. Please keep in mind that thousands of nominations, by candidates that meet all requirements, are being registered normally. Having said that, let us review some of the most controversial nominations for the most prominent posts in this election.

Candidates for President

Zury Rios, Presidential Candidate of the Coalition of Valor Party and Unionist Party. 

Opponents argue that Zury Rios candidacy is prohibited by Article 186 “Prohibitions to Opt for President and Vicepresident of the Republic” of the Constitution, as it bans the candidacies of relatives, within fourth degrees, of any caudillos, or chiefs of a coup, armed revolution or similar movement, that would have altered the constitutional order or those who as a result of any of the previously mentioned events assume as Chief of State. Zury is daughter to former Chief of State General Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled from March 1982 to August 1983. Those in favor of her candidacy argue that the Current Constitution was enacted in 1985, and that the law cannot be applied retroactively against General Rios or his relatives. General Rios was not allowed to run for President in 1991 and 1995, but was allowed to run for President in 2003, and Zury Rios herself ran for President in 2015, but was not allowed to run in 2019. 

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Roberto Arzu, Presidential Candidate of Podemos Party. 

Roberto Arzú has been sidelined due to continuing to engage in an "advance" campaign. The 2016 reforms to the Electoral Law established a prohibition against "advanced campaign", which broadly means engaging in direct propaganda before the beginning of the official electoral campaign (March 26 in this election). The prohibition is controversial and is being challenged, but it is still valid. However, Arzu seemed not to mind the prohibition at all, and was warned before being banned. His legal team is appealing the electoral decision.

Candidates for Vice President  

Jordan Rodas, Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples' Liberation Movement (MLP)

Jordan Rodas recently served as the Human Rights Ombudsman from August 2017 to August 2022. Electoral authorities have not registered Rodas for failing to fulfill all legal requirements, as an administrative clearance for use of public funds during his term as Ombudsman is being questioned. His failure to be registered affects his Presidential candidate Thelma Cabrera, who fulfills all legal requirements. His legal team is appealing the decision.

Romeo Guerra, Vice Presidential Candidate of National Unity of Hope (UNE).

Article 186 “Prohibitions to Opt for President and Vicepresident of the Republic” of the current Constitution explicitly bans Ordained Religious Ministers. Until recently, Guerra served as pastor of the Christian Mission Zion Church. Opponents have motioned against his candidacy, while Electoral Authorities have accepted it. If banned, his failure to be registered would affect his presidential candidate Sandra Torres, who fulfills all legal requirements.

The Registration process for nominated candidates closes on March 26. Some questioned nominations might be registered, while others might not. It is still too soon to know, as the registration process is ongoing.