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Guatemala: 100 days of Arévalo’s government

by Prof. Dr. Stefan Jost

Of the travails of the plainx

Bernardo Arévalo's election victory came as an absolute surprise to him, his Semilla party and Guatemala. Despite massive resistance until literally the last minute, he was able to take office on January 15, 2024. He was also supported by people and groups who did not vote for him, but who wanted to save Guatemalan democracy. After the first 100 days, however, the impression spreads that Arévalo and his government are still caught up in the element of surprise and are not prepared for the famous "travails of the plains".

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The balance of the first 100 days is, to put it mildly, mixed. The government's international recognition is undoubtedly a plus compared to the previous government, whose reputation was permanently damaged by the corruption allegations. Despite these positive international conditions, the government is unlikely to be under any illusions. Their recognition and future will be decided by domestic policy. On a positive note, the government has not appeared to be corrupt and Arévalo is considered to have integrity. After past experience, this is quite a lot for Guatemala. However, given the country's abundance of problems, this is not enough in the long run. From the outset, the question arose as to the context of the governability of the country. The lack or inexperience of "own people" is reflected in the government's operational implementation deficit. The forces in the judiciary, which are not very pro-government or even hostile, especially in the form of the Attorney General, form an institutional counterweight that is problematic for the government. Arévalo cannot rest on his laurels in the last months before taking office. During these months, many were not primarily concerned with him, but with the preservation of Guatemalan democracy.

At the moment, skepticism seems to prevail as to whether and to what extent the government can achieve this. One analyst wrote regarding the "100 days" that they "missed the opportunity and now they are about to lose power." The government has failed to capitalise on the initial momentum provided by the election and the broad popular support. Now it is important to simply get going based on the trust that still exists and the immense expectation of change and to make it clear how and where this still new government wants to lead the country. The window of opportunity for this is closing a little more with each passing day.

The full-length publication is only available in german.

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Prof. Dr. Stefan Jost

Prof. Dr

Representative of KAS office Philippines +63 2 8539 38-41, -42, -43, -44 ,-45 +63 2 8893 6199


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