Guatemala’s 2023 general elections will soon determine the direction of this country that has made unprecedented progress in strengthening its democracy over the last two decades, but still finds itself hindered by organized crime and corruption. IFES is helping Guatemala’s main election management body, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Supremo Electoral, TSE), strengthen its systems and procedures in the areas of political finance oversight, election results transmission and social inclusivity as well as modernize its use of technology and enhance its situational response capabilities. IFES’ first project in Guatemala began in 2010, providing technical assistance to the TSE for the implementation of a more effective and transparent results tabulation system. In 2014, IFES returned to the country for a project dedicated to preventing electoral violence and ensuring the political and civil rights of the Guatemalan LGBT community.
In 2017, IFES and the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) began work on the Electoral Governance and Reforms Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development. This ongoing program aims to improve governance within Guatemala’s key electoral institutions and increase civic participation. Building on its long-term partnership with the TSE, IFES committed its support to the implementation of the most recent reforms to the Law on Elections and Political Parties (Ley Electoral y de Partidos Politicos), approved in 2016. IFES has worked with the TSE to establish a Control, Oversight and Accountability Unit and a Media Monitoring Unit within the electoral management body to allow for more transparent and accountable electoral processes. These units drew from best practices of regional election management bodies to improve the Guatemalan electoral system.
The IFES Guatemala team has since supported the TSE in national elections and referendums and between electoral cycles to improve processes on a range of topics, including out-of-country voting, participation of young people and people with disabilities and prevention of electoral conflict. In 2021, IFES’ Electoral Governance and Reforms Project was extended for an extra year to support the TSE in advocating for new reforms of the law and of internal TSE processes. IFES maintains its commitment to the development and strengthening of the Guatemalan electoral system and desires to continue collaborating with the TSE throughout the electoral cycle.