Guatemala’s Election Could Sound Democracy’s Death Knell

Guatemala’s Election Could Sound Democracy’s Death Knell
A fake coffin stands in front of a line of police during a protest against Attorney General Consuelo Porras after she was sworn in for a second four-year term, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, May 21, 2022 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

First, a well-known leftist Indigenous candidate was eliminated from Guatemala’s presidential race. Then, a right-wing populist. Finally, a businessman who built his campaign on TikTok. They had nothing in common besides their outspoken criticism of government corruption. But in Guatemala that is enough to get you wiped from the ballot.

Central America’s largest nation might be holding general elections on June 25, but it is rapidly losing its claim to be a democracy. Although no single despotic ruling family or dominant party is completely in control, a cohort of predatory factions—including the political machine built by incumbent President Alejandro Giammattei—has been jointly coopting independent institutions and pushing opponents into exile or jail since 2019. Outside of plainly authoritarian Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and El Salvador, it’s hard to find a Latin American country that leaves less space for the political opposition.

Given the truncated list of candidates, you can’t blame Guatemalans for seeing the presidential election as a pointless farce—and based on dwindling turnout in recent elections, many probably do. But there is still at least one major presidential contender who might chart a course back toward democracy: Edmond Mulet.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.