upporters of the Movimiento Semilla party at a rally in Guatemala City in June.Credit…Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

A New York Times guest essay bears the blunt title

If the Election Deniers Succeed, Guatemala Will Have Lost the Battle for Democracy

Written by Anita Isaacs, Rachel A. Schwartz and Álvaro Montenegro, the lengthy piece pulls together a powerful argument for the candidacy of Bernardo Arevalo and the Semilla “Seed” movement. They allege the sitting President has trigged rigged the election in favour of the establishment candidate, Sandra Torres.

“That’s why not even the most seasoned observers of Guatemalan politics could have predicted that Bernardo Arévalo, a moderate reformist championing an anti-corruption platform and polling at just 3 percent before the vote, would be one of the two top finishers in the June 25 general elections, securing 12 percent of the vote and a spot in the runoff next month. His rival, Sandra Torres of the National Unity of Hope party, who garnered nearly 16 percent of the vote, is a former first lady and three-time presidential contender and is aligned with the “pact of the corrupt.” In 2019, she was indicted on a charge of illicit campaign financing, and her party has been linked to organized crime.”

Other parties immediately rushed to question the integrity of Arevalo and the Semilla Movement’s unexpectedly high vote. Guatemala’s Supreme Court allowed an examination of the votes cast to go forward. The NYT article noted.

“On July 1, the Constitutional Court orderedelectoral authorities’ ballots from the first-round presidential election to be reviewed after Ms. Torres’s party and allies challenged the results — even though other candidates have already conceded and international and domesticobserver missions deemed the elections clean. Many fear the ruling could pave the way for additional spurious challenges that could eventually overturn the results, delay the second round or exclude Mr. Arévalo from competing altogether. The cries of fraud echo those in the United States after President Biden’s 2020 victory, although, with the entire judicial system on their side, Guatemala’s election deniers stand a better chance of pulling it off.”

As to the position of the U.S. State Department, the NYT authors supported its skepticism about the skepticism of the Semilla vote.

“and even the United States, which has been reluctant to publicly clash with the Giammattei government, have affirmed the legitimacy of the results and denounced electoral interference.”

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady saw the issue of the integrity of Arevalo and the Semilla vote in a far different light. Ms, O’Grady over nearly 30 years has been one of the most forthright commentators on South and Central America.

The re-examination of the voting ballots proved indecisive. The allegations, that fraud occurred and the allegation that the allegations of fraud were election denial, all appeared a little correct but not convincingly substantiated.

O’Grady writes:

If a reader expects Opposition International to take a position, we simply cannot. We should know more about the situation, but we do not. Best not to guess in such a charged environment.

As an organization that supports the Opposition, when the election has delivered a government and an Official Opposition, we will provide news coverage and encouragement.