The Guatemalan Congress passed legislation in 2016 to reduce corruption, improve elections and electoral administration, and democratize political parties. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Guatemala is devoted to increasing accountability, enhancing the transparency and inclusivity of the electoral system, and expanding the TSE’s mandate as a political finance regulator. Specifically, the Tribunal aims to improve out-of-country voting, establish an oversight committee, implement civic and voter education strategies, and overcome barriers against women, indigenous and persons with disabilities. Guatemalans have made unprecedented advantages in strengthening their country’s democracy and engaging in political life, yet there is still much more work to be done.
Currently, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is committed to working with Guatemalans to ensure sustainable reforms and programs. IFES, in partnership with the Consortium for Electoral Processes and Political Strengthening, will work with the TSE to establish the Control, Oversight and Accountability Unit, as well as the Media Monitoring Unit, through the support of a three-year U.S. Agency for International Development award. Entitled “Electoral Governance and Reforms Project,” this award is aimed at improving the governance of key institutions and increasing citizen participation. Specifically, IFES is committed to enhancing dialogue and advocacy for key new reforms by civil society, the legislature and relevant executive branches. In addition, IFES will work to effectively implement and enforce key reforms with an emphasis on the Law on Political Parities and Elections and offer election monitoring and observation mechanisms for civil society actors.
Through this program, IFES aims to help establish an inter-institutional unit to ease out-of-country voting, allowing Guatemalans living abroad to exercise their right to vote. These units, along with collaboration with the Tribunal to strengthen its organizational capacity to allow for the implementation of a civic and voter education strategy, aim to promote a transparent and accountable election system. IFES and the TSE are also committed to promoting the inclusivity of marginalized groups in society, including people with disabilities, indigenous groups, and women. Accessibility, voter education, resource guides and trainings, and small grants given to the Tribunal by IFES will all attribute to the formation of an inclusive electoral process. Specifically, these reforms will be implemented for the 2019 general election and elections to come.