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Apr 18, 2018

Guat F.M. Says Voter Turnout Performed Well

Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on Monday further discussed her country’s participation in Sunday’s referendum. As has been widely noted, about twenty-seven percent of the population voted in the referendum of which a super-majority said yes. But with Belize’s referendum act requiring a simple majority turnout – something Guatemala is said to have pushed for at the diplomatic level – can Guatemala declare success when more people apparently chose to say nothing? Sandra Jovel Polanco told News Five that in her opinion, the views of those who voted speaks for itself.


Sandra Jovel Polanco

Sandra Jovel Polanco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala (Translated)

“I think that having a twenty-six point three-three percent voter turnout, out of approximately seven point five million people, almost twenty-seven percent of the population, is an unprecedented success for Guatemala. In the last two referendums, the level of participation had been substandard. The fact that about two million Guatemalans went to vote at a referendum which is not part of a political campaign, on an issue that is of national importance, means a lot to us. And ninety-six to ninety-seven percent of those voters voted yes. They voted because we want legal certainty. They voted because we have a neighboring country that will be our neighbor forever. And we will always have an excellent relationship. We want to go to a court that will tell us where that border line will be, which at this moment does not exist. I think that twenty-six to twenty-seven percent says a lot about Guatemalans.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Canciller, why do you think that five million people in Guatemala decided not to participate in this decision?”


Sandra Jovel Polanco

“I can’t say why they didn’t vote. In a presidential election the participation is not very high also. It is not an obligation. But this one has had the highest voter percentage up to now. Those five million gave the benefit of the doubt to the two million that voted yes to go to the I.C.J.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Do you think it is that they don’t care about the issue? Or they are happy with things as they are now?”


Sandra Jovel Polanco

“The people are aware and convinced of what we are doing; if not they would not have voted yes. We are all happy; I am very satisfied with the work we are doing at the Foreign Ministry.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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