Guatemala President-elect Arevalo calls on public to back his transition

Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo attends a press conference in Guatemala City
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GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala's President-elect Bernardo Arevalo on Friday called on the public to "unite" behind his government after the suspension of his party by electoral authorities sowed doubts about the transition.

"I call for us to unite to defeat the coup forces that intend to keep us submerged in corruption, impunity and poverty," Arevalo, a 64-year-old former diplomat and son of a former president, said during a press conference.

Arevalo resoundingly won the Aug. 20 second-round run-off election. Prosecutors previously threatened to bar his party, Semilla, from the election, prompting an international outcry.

Shortly before electoral tribunal officials declared Arevalo the victor at a press conference last week, Semilla was notified that a branch of the tribunal suspended the party. It said the party's registration had flaws, but the impact of the suspension was not clear.

Arevalo said he will appeal the "illegal" suspension while the Organization of American States (OAS) said the suspension was unjustified. Diplomats from the United States, Chile and Mexico have also spoken in favor of Arevalo.

In his speech on Friday, Arevalo called on the public, politicians, entrepreneurs, workers, churches and indigenous leaders to "join forces in defense of democracy and unrestricted respect for the popular will."

An anti-corruption protest is scheduled to take place on Saturday in capital Guatemala City, although Semilla said it is not in charge of it.

The administration of President Alejandro Giammattei scheduled a first meeting for Monday for the transition process with Arevalo, which will be accompanied by the OAS.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu and Raul Cortesvot; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by)