The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Court signed a cooperation agreement Thursday to work together in an audit of the financial records of the country’s political parties and media corporations.
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Mario Aguilar, president of Guatemala’s electoral body, and Ivan Velasquez, head of the CICIG signed the agreement, which includes professional exchanges, institutional build-up, consultation, cooperation and technical assistance.
The CICIG will assist the electoral court in matters related control and accountability, especially in the cases of political parties, media outlets, and polling firms.
According to Aguilar, the goal is to strengthen democracy, guarantee fair elections and access to electoral justice for all Guatemalans ahead of next year’s general elections.
During the joint press conference detractors of the CICIG interrupted the press conference accusing the Commission of trying to orchestrate an electoral fraud for the 2019 elections.
One of the protesters warned "the United States will learn about this," as others claimed the cooperation agreement implied a loss of sovereignty.
Due to the protests, the press conference was canceled.
The CICIG was created in 2006 by a U.N. decree to investigate widespread high-level corruption within the country. CICIG’s investigations have led the organization to request Congress to remove president Jimmy Morales’ immunity after finding his party, the conservative National Convergence Front, received US$1 million in undeclared campaign financing for the 2015 elections.