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Feb 12, 2018

Guatemala Electoral Body Produces Booklet on Referendum Process

Guatemalans head to the polls on April fifteenth to decide on the following question: Do you agree that any legal claim by Guatemala against Belize on continental inland territories and any maritime areas corresponding to those territories be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final determination and that it determines the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties? Belize is expected to follow suit later this year or in early 2019. It’s a rare case that both countries are pushing for a yes vote from their populations to proceed with the court trip, though there is opposition in both nations. With the date just about two months away, Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal has produced a thirty-two page booklet for voters outlining succinctly the relevant information as to why Guatemala has a dispute with Belize; what steps were taken to resolve it before, and why the I.C.J. is the best solution. A simple majority of turnout in both countries is needed to validate the referendum as well as to decide either way. Guatemala is said to be spending as much as forty million dollars on its education campaign; Belize has yet to release a figure as according to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, the government wants to get through elections, re-registration and redistricting first.

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