Guatemala's top court ends candidacy of leading presidential hopeful 1 month before vote

Presidential candidate Carlos Pineda, of the Prosperidad Ciudadana party, arrives to the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City, Saturday, May 20, 2023. Pineda seeks to reverse a court decision that has excluded him from the electoral process. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s top court blocked the candidacy of another presidential hopeful on Friday, this time ending the campaign of poll leader Carlos Pineda for alleged violations of electoral law.

The Constitutional Court rejected Pineda’s appeal after electoral authorities had ruled him ineligible only a month before the first round of voting June 25.

Pineda is the third presidential candidate ruled ineligible to run. The court rejected the final appeals of candidate Roberto Arzú on Thursday, and previously had ruled against Thelma Cabrera because of a paperwork issue with her running mate.

Some observers have accused Guatemala’s electoral authorities of using the judicial system to pare down the field to candidates acceptable to the establishment.

Pineda, a conservative populist, running a campaign that caught fire on social media, emerged as the surprise leader atop the polls earlier this month.

Authorities said there were problems in the way his party selected its candidate that voided his candidacy.