GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) -The Guatemalan prosecutors' office said on Friday it would continue its investigation into anti-graft party Semilla and that its actions were not meant to interfere with a presidential run-off set to take place next month.
The office this week launched an investigation of Semilla, whose candidate Bernardo Arevalo, pledging to tackle entrenched corruption, took a surprise second place in the first-round vote in June. A criminal court ordered the party and its candidates suspended.
However, the suspension was overturned after an international outcry, with warnings from the U.S., the European Union and other countries that the move represented a threat to democracy.
The prosecutor has alleged that Semilla committed fraud by using more than 5,000 fake signatures to register members. Semilla has denied the accusations.
In a statement, the prosecutor's office said its purpose "is not to interfere with the date of the second round of elections, nor to disqualify the participation of any candidate."
The prosecutor leading the investigation into Semilla, Rafael Curruchiche, said during a press conference on Friday that Guatemalans had come forward with complaints about Semilla.
"Several people have already made known their discomfort, anger and rage because they were illegally affiliated without their consent," he said. "We would never have presented a case without having the support and evidence."
Arevalo and former first lady Sandra Torres are set to go head-to-head in a run-off on Aug. 20. Torres paused her campaign Thursday and called for a clean vote.
The election had already sparked criticism over the disqualification of several opposition candidates in the campaign stage.
Curruchiche has previously targeted anti-graft campaigners and has been placed on the U.S. State Department's Engel List for "corrupt and undemocratic actors."
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Kylie Madry and Sarah Kinosian; editing by Cassandra Garrison and Rosalba O'Brien)