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Dec 18, 2018

A Breakdown of the Results of the Referendum in Guatemala

The second leg of a tour on the International Court of Justice organized by the United States Embassy for the local media puts them in Guatemala City tonight. Aside from interviewing former Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, the media also got an interview with the Public Relations Officer of the Tribunal Supremo Electoral, which is the counterpart to the local Elections and Boundaries Department in Belize. Gerardo Ramirez Ortiz explained that three hundred million quetzals, which is seventy-eight million Belize dollars, was spent on the referendum, known as the consulta popular. Final figures are still being tallied and their election tribunal’s focus was on logistics of how, where and when to vote, but did not get engaged in explaining the issue. Ramirez Ortiz provides the breakdown.


Gerardo Ramirez Ortiz

Gerardo Ramirez Ortiz, PR Officer, Tribunal Supremo Electoral

“The official results are as follows: those that voted yes: one million seven hundred and eighty-three thousand six hundred Guatemalans. No votes: seventy-six thousand and seventy-four.  Null votes: forty-three thousand five hundred and forty-two. Blank votes:  forty-nine thousand eight hundred and seventy. Invalid votes: six thousand nine hundred and eighty-four. Total number of votes cast: one million nine hundred and sixty thousand and seventy. The percentage was more than twenty-six percent of registered voters.  In Guatemala, there had been other popular consultations with low voter turnout.  This referendum had the highest voter turnout in Guatemala’s history. The vote of every Guatemalan is very sacred. He is voting voluntarily. Naturally, all are invited to vote but no one is obligated to participate; it’s a voluntary act.  For the TSE, it was satisfactory to have achieved this. Popular consultations are processes that are the result of political maturity and Guatemala is leading the way in this democratic process. We do not consider the results a joke. On the contrary we respect the decision of over one million people who went to vote and expressed their opinion. The response was conclusive and we reiterate that it is because of the participation and freedom that we have. The biggest challenge was to take the people of Guatemala out of their comfort zone and explain to them the importance of the issue. There were no incentives, no gifts that are traditionally part of an electoral process. There were no candidates or people to vote for. In this case it was a matter of national importance that people needed to be aware of. And this was achieved.”

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