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CEPPS in Guatemala

CEPPS has been working in Guatemala since 2007 to strengthen democratic institutions and promote good governance by increasing electoral transparency, furthering institutional accountability and championing the growth of political participation among traditionally marginalized groups, including women, LGBTQI+ and youth.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS works with the Guatemalan Congress, public institutions, civil society, electoral authorities and youth journalists to enhance dialogue and advocacy for the passage and implementation of laws designed to promote political and electoral transparency, government accountability and citizen participation in politics 

CEPPS Approach:

During the past four elections, CEPPS has supported Guatemalan civic election observation networks to monitor, prevent and mitigate incidents of electoral violence and misuse of campaign funding, as well as to conduct an independent check on election results through parallel vote tabulations. CEPPS haalso provided support to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Supremo Electoral, TSE) on key electoral areas since 2011. CEPPS’ support contributed to strengthening the TSE’s capacity to conduct election and political party finance oversight and increase citizen participation in the electoral process. 

CEPPS has provided ongoing technical assistance to several key committees of congress to advance socio-economic reforms and increase transparency in government by supporting efforts to improve constituent-legislator relationships and increase citizen-driven legislation and reforms. Furthermore, CEPPS has supported civil society and independent media to promote government transparency, increase citizen access to information and provide monitoring and oversight of government actions.   

CEPPS Key Achievements in Guatemala:

Guatemalan electoral authorities have improved skills and an expanded legal mandate to carry out fair, safe and transparent elections: 

  • CEPPS supported members of the Guatemalan Congress in drafting and debating legislation in 2016 to increase accountability and oversight of Congress, political parties and electoral authorities. 

 

  • CEPPS supported the TSE in implementing 201reforms to the electoral law during the 2019 elections to increase accountability around political party finance, monitor electoral campaigns in media, facilitate out-of-country voting, and mitigate electoral violence. Additionally, CEPPS held workshops to support the TSE’s communications department to manage the TSE’s social media presence, and thus, increase citizen engagement and participation during the electoral cycle. 

 

  • Following the 2019 electoral process, CEPPS supported the TSE to convene planning sessions with political parties, CSOs, academia and think tanks on how to further improve the Guatemalan electoral and political system through a second-generation of reforms. These reforms included the new subdivision of districts, new rules for political parties, gender parity, and expedited social services during elections. 

 

Guatemalan civil society organizations, citizens and media outlets play an active role in elections oversight and risk mitigation:  

  • CEPPS supported a coalition of Guatemalan civic groups, Mirador Electoral, to deploy volunteer observers nationwide to monitor electoral violence, campaign financing, media coverage of elections, TSE performance and citizen political inclusion during the campaign period and on election day.  Mirador Electoral’s observation findings provided an independent assessment of the voting and counting process, as well as a check on election commission results. Mirador Electoral also provided systematic data on political party, and candidate compliance with 2016 campaign finance reforms, helping the Guatemalan Congress develop a new series of electoral reforms. 

 

  • CEPPS trained citizens from 15 departments across Guatemala on conflict mediation and resolution skills through the “Culture of Peace” training series. These classes provided citizens, including those vulnerable to electoral violence, with tools to prevent, mediate or resolve electoral conflict in their communities during the elections, especially in identified electoral violence hotspots. 

 

  • Through the CEPPS Youth Beyond Elections” networkover 500 civil society-affiliated youth gained training in leadership and advocacy skills to promote electoral transparency and advocate for youth prioritieboth during and between electionsThese youth also gained opportunities for cross-sectoral youth engagement with political party youth through the CEPPS-led National Youth Summit. 

 

  • In collaboration with local media partners, CEPPS-trained journalists published 225 online investigative articles covering issues such as local candidates, electoral financing and political party regulations, electoral processes and monitoring candidate commitments. 

 

Members of Congress apply new skills to advance citizen-responsive reform legislation: 

  • CEPPS supported congressional deliberations on the Infrastructure Law, a socio-economic reform that sought to build roads and drive economic development in Guatemala. CEPPS also supported congressional committees in the development of the Access to Information Law and Competitiveness Law, which promotes greater transparency in government processes. Through CEPPS supported activities, these committees engaged more than 800 citizens in dialogue for more citizen-responsive legislation. 
  • CEPPS trained newly elected members of congress and youth political leaders on strategies to promote socio-economic and transparency-related reforms ahead of the 2020-2024 legislative sessions. This included supporting youth political leaders to advocate for and effectively implement the Law on Elections and Political Parties within their parties as well as develop a National Youth Agenda and advocate for priority reforms identified in the agenda. 

 

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