Police in Guatemala search the party offices of the progressive presidential candidate

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Guatemalan agents and police raided the offices of presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo’s Seed Movement on Friday as part of an investigation into alleged wrongdoing in the party’s formation.

Andrea Reyes, lawyer and party member, confirmed that the agents and the police had come to search for documents. The Attorney General’s Office also confirmed the search.

In an audio recording shared with reporters, Arévalo condemned the raid as illegal, saying it “is part of the political persecution that the corrupt minority, which knows it is losing power day by day, is carrying out to try to intimidate us, to try to derail the electoral process … to try to overthrow democracy.”

The raid followed allegations by Guatemalan electoral authorities earlier Friday that a number of state actors were trying to interfere in the country’s presidential election. Election officials sought an order from the country’s highest court to protect the election process.

The country’s political system has been in disarray since the progressive Arévalo placed a surprise second in a preliminary round of voting on June 25 – putting him on course to face conservative former first lady Sandra Torres in an August runoff.

Certification of last month’s the results were delayed for two weeks and the Attorney General’s Office announced an investigation into how the party had collected the necessary signatures to form several years earlier. Prosecutors initially won a suspension of the party’s legal status from a judge, but the Constitutional Court granted a preliminary injunction blocking that.

As part of that investigation, agents searched the Supreme Electoral Court for a second time on Thursday. That prompted the court to seek an injunction from the Constitutional Court on Friday to protect the electoral process.

Arévalo is slated to face Torres, the first round’s leading vote-getter, in an August 20 runoff to succeed President Alejandro Giammattei.

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