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Elections in Guatemala: Torres or Giammattei?

It is not the first time that Sandra Torres and Alejandro Giammattei have launched for the presidency of Guatemala. For Torres, it is the third time and for Giammattei it will be the fourth. However, it will be the first time both have met in the second round of the elections since neither of them reached the necessary threshold for the presidency.

The presidential candidate of Guatemala for the National Union of Hope Party, Sandra Torres.

The presidential candidate of Guatemala for the National Union of Hope Party, Sandra Torres. EFE / Dafne Pérez / Archive

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara

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Leer en español: Elecciones en Guatemala: ¿Torres o Giammattei?

Although Torres, who is running under the Unión Nacional de la Esperanza (UNE) party reached 22.08% percent (the equivalent of 1,112,939 votes); It was not enough to win in the first round. Giammattei, from the Vamos por una Guatemala Diferente party, reached 12.06 percent support (608,083 votes).

As we had already reported, the elections came at a key moment, since for the Guatemalans, the management of the current president, Jimmy Morales, has been inefficient, highlighting the most critical points of the economy and the perception of corruption. According to Política Exterior, "the indicators of violence have increased, which makes the institutional crisis encompass all the organs of the State (crisis in health, where deaths from chronic malnutrition have increased) and in public education."

Thus, according to the survey carried out by the firm Pro Datos for the Prensa Libre media, in the second round there would be the possibility that the winner is Giammattei, who would have 61.1 percent of the votes; while Torres would reach 38.9 percent of the votes. Within the main arguments of the virtual victory of Giammattei, it would be that Guatemalans would do it only to "vote against Sandra Torres."

It should be remembered that Torres has been related to corruption cases, because when she presented herself for the 2015 elections, Torres was accused of illicit financing. However, so far, the Court has not proceeded with the investigation, since the case arrived until February 2019, when it was presented before the Supreme Court of Justice. In this way, according to the survey, 33 percent of the Guatemalans interviewed consider that Torres “would make an honest government,” (compared to 50 percent who think the same of Giammattei).

On the other hand, Giammattei is not saved from corruption scandals since according to the Washington Post, “Giammattei has also been linked to illegal activities (...) after serving as national director of prisons in 2006, Giammattei was accused of coordinating a death squad that carried out extrajudicial executions against gang members and drug traffickers.” However, for several analysts, the links between Giammattei and the former military who violated human rights still exist.

Despite his accusations, last Wednesday Giammetti announced in a press conference that, if he won the elections, he would put his opponent in jail; In this regard, he affirmed that “I am going to give you a reason why to vote. People of Guatemala, vote for Alejandro Giammattei. If you vote for Alejandro Giammattei I will do everything in my power to put Mrs. Sandra Torres in jail. ”

 

Faced with the above, Giammetti filed a criminal complaint against Sandra Torres, requesting a rooting order against the candidate. This, in order to prevent Torres from leaving the country once next Sunday's elections were held.

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A complicated Guatemala

In spite of the clear political division that exists in the country, the challenges that the new president faces will be key, since Morales leaves several gaps since he became president in January 2016. Among the main problems is the denial of the Renewal of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, an entity that was present in the country for about 11 years and worked to combat the country's corruption networks. Added to the above is the scandal of economic resource management and the high migration of Guatemalans.

However, the two candidates do not generate any kind of hope or substantial change within the country, since the two have been linked to corruption scandals, something that according to the polls, Guatemalans do not tolerate anymore. For Guatemala, improvement is also essential not only in the economic sector but also in the security of the country.

Neither Torres nor Giammetti have proposed new alternatives. Torres focuses more on social programs, while Giammetti has announced that, if he won, he would bring more investment, he would promote the export and development of children, according to Bles.

Guatemala is in the middle of a panorama where the maximum organization of the fight against corruption will close its doors in September if the winner does not reverse Morales' decision. Finally, to win the second round, political alliances and new voters acquired to win the presidential elections will be key.

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