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The Lawfare Podcast: An Earthshaking Election in Guatemala

Quinta Jurecic, Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez, Jen Patja
Monday, August 28, 2023, 8:00 AM
What are the implications of the presidential elections in Guatemala? 

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On August 20, Guatemalans elected a new president, Bernardo Arévalo. His landslide victory was also a major win for the country’s struggling democracy. An unexpectedly strong candidate who ran on an anti-corruption platform, Arévalo triumphed despite months of dirty tricks by institutional actors seeking to preserve the country’s status quo.

To discuss Arévalo’s victory, the wild months that led up to it, and the challenges ahead, Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic talked to Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez, a PhD candidate in Political Science at Harvard University who studies emerging challenges to contemporary democracy, with a focus on Latin America. Guatemala isn’t out of the woods yet, but in a moment of worldwide anxiety over democratic backsliding, the Guatemalan election might be the rarest of things: a good news story.

Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Manuel Meléndez-Sánchez is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Harvard University. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Democracy, Slate, and the Washington Post. He was born and raised in El Salvador.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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