The conservative candidate Zury Ríos Sosa, daughter of the coup dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, seeks the presidency of Guatemala after obtaining the green light to compete for the second time in elections in the Central American country, despite the constitutional norm that prohibits their participation.
With 55 years of age, Ríos Sosa arrives at the elections next Sunday at the hands of the right-wing Valor-Unionista coalition with the possibility of entering a second electoral round, according to the surveys of this semesteralthough at the moment it is third in the polls.
In 2019, the conservative candidate could not participate in the elections because the Guatemalan courts determined that her inclusion was unconstitutionall, by a norm that specifies that the relatives of people who carried out a coup d’état cannot govern the country.
However, for the current elections he was allowed to participate, as happened in 2015, when he finished in fifth position with 288,421 votes in total.
According to analysts, his qualification to compete this June 25 was thanks to the fact that he has influence in the Constitutional Court and a resolution of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), issued in 2022, that supports his participation.
However, criticism against him has been strong by human rights defenders, since his father, former general Efraín Ríos Montt, was charged and convicted in 2013 for the genocide of 1,600 indigenous people in northern Guatemala during the internal armed conflict. , specifically between 1982 and 1983.
Said sentence, however, was disavowed days later by the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court. According to human rights organizations, the 17 months in government of the father of Ríos Sosa were the bloodiest of the 36 years of the internal armed conflict in Guatemala (1960-1996), which left 250,000 victims among the dead and disappeared.
Ríos Sosa has managed a denial speech about the massacres of which his father was accused and accompanied him until the time when the Constitutional Court revoked the sentence against him.
A past in Congress
The candidate, who has a degree in political science and has studied in Spain, had a long legislative career as a deputy in Guatemala between 1996 and 2012, with four consecutive periods of legislature.
During his tenure in Congress, Ríos Sosa promoted bills on care for HIV AIDS and violence against women, but was criticized for opposing efforts to combat corruption in Guatemala.
The daughter of Ríos Montt always rejected and opposed the creation of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), which fought corruption in the Central American country for more than a decade, and dismantled multiple criminal structures embedded in the State.
In 2011, Ríos Sosa ventured for the first time as a presidential candidate for the extinct party Right-wing Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) founded by his father, General Efraín Ríos Montt.
However, on that occasion, the candidate finally gave up running, citing insufficient financial resources to finance her presidential campaign.
Conservative alliance and death penalty
For this year’s elections, Ríos Sosa allied with the Unionista party, led by deputy Álvaro Arzú Escobar, son of the former president of Guatemala, Álvaro Arzú Irigoyen (1996-2000).
The alliance has allowed it to have the support of the municipal electoral structure of Guatemala City and municipalities in the periphery. Besidesthe conservative coalition has controversial candidates for deputies who were ministers during the government of former President Jimmy Morales (2016-2020).
During the campaign, the candidate has been characterized by offering to strengthen the security forces, “take the Army to the streets” to fight crime and also by establishing the death penalty for certain crimes in case of coming to power.
Similarly, it has promised to create 10,000 jobs per month, although its government plan does not explain the strategy it will use in this regard. Several lawyers and human rights organizations have criticized Ríos Sosa because her presence in the Executive Branch would be a “threat” for being in favor of granting amnesty to soldiers who are prosecuted or convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the internal armed conflict. .
More than 9.3 million Guatemalans are summoned to the polls next Sunday to elect a president, vice president, 160 deputies to Congress, 20 to the Central American Parliament and 340 municipal corporations for the period 2024-2028.
Who are the other candidates?
Former first lady Sandra Torres (2008-2012) and former United Nations official Edmond Mulet lead the intention to vote for the elections this Sunday, according to a survey published by a local newspaper.
Torres, who is competing for the third consecutive time for the presidency with the National Unity of Hope (UNE) partymonopolizes 21.3 percent of the intention to vote, according to the survey carried out between June 5 and 14 by the firm ProDatos for the Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre.
In second place, the poll places former United Nations cabinet secretary and right-wing politician Edmond Mulet with a voting intention of 13.4 percent.
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