Alejandro Giammattei achieves the Presidency of Guatemala on the fourth attempt

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EFE | Patricia Pernas y Emiliano Castro Sáenz

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Leer en español: El conservador Giammattei logra la Presidencia de Guatemala al cuarto intento

Giammattei, former director of the Penitentiary System, doctor and surgeon by profession but entrepreneur and career politician, became the ninth president of the democratic era

The fourth time was the charm. Alejandro Giammattei had been looking for the Presidency of Guatemala for years but it was not until this Sunday, after twenty years of pursuing a public office, when he has achieved his trophy with the desire, he says, to "serve."

After an election day that passed without serious incidents, the Supreme Electoral Court said that, according to the preliminary results and taking into account that the data were "irreversible," the candidate of the center-right party "Vamos" had achieved the country's first magistracy.

Giammattei, former director of the Penitentiary System, a doctor and surgeon by profession but a businessman and career politician, became the ninth president of the democratic era, which was established in Guatemala in 1986 with the coming to power of the Christian Democrat Vinicio Cerezo after several decades of military regimes that succeeded in power through coups and electoral fraud.

His proposals managed to convince more than 1.8 million voters. A low figure due to the low participation, of around 42 percent, but enough to defeat the former First Lady Sandra Torres, of the Social Democratic National Unit of Hope, which was left with 1.3 million votes.

Giammattei, a favorite according to the polls and who always saw himself as a winner, proclaimed himself president even before the Supreme Electoral Court officially announced the data at a press conference in which he thanked the support: "I come to tell you, this humble servant, that it will be an immense honor to be the president of the country."



The future president of Guatemala, who will take office on January 14 in place of Jimmy Morales and who has been characterized by proposing a "strong hand" against criminals and an "economic wall" to stop irregular immigration, promised to be a man "at the service" of people and "close" to the population to "rebuild the country."

But first, as he announced, he will sleep. And it will be from Tuesday of next week when the politician, 63, and who suffers from sclerosis for more than 40, start working on the transfer of power because he is "very committed to what I have to do."

Giammattei, who has 3 children, had presumed on several occasions to be the first president with functional diversity and will face several challenges, such as the fight against corruption and impunity, malnutrition, education, poverty , and violence

Also read: Judge orders preventive detention against Rafael Correa for alleged bribes

While the future president was happy, with dozens of people supporting him at the party headquarters and fireworks coloring the sky, Torres did not appear before the press and simply sent the deputy Oscar Argueta, general secretary of the party which the former lady founded with her ex-husband and former president Álvaro Colom (2008-2012).

After meeting the winner, the head of the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity of the Public Ministry, Francisco Sandoval, who praised the speed of scrutiny and the tranquility of the day - with about 15 electoral complaints - he told EFE that, as a citizen, he waits this decision is "the best for the country."

From his perspective, that of Justice, he urged the future ruler to continue supporting the Prosecutor's Office and the Judicial Branch, with a larger budget and "resources", and with respect to Torres' allegations, against whom Giammattei requested a ban on leaving the country, Sandoval said that the situation must be analyzed.

For his part, the president of organized entrepreneurs, Juan Carlos Tefel, said that the next four years should be focused on issues such as malnutrition, transparency, job creation, legal certainty, infrastructure investment, and defense of private property.

In addition, he described the triumph of Giammattei as a victory with "a wide margin" with a "resounding result" that gives "legitimacy to the next government despite the abstention exceeding 50 percent.

But for the European Union ambassador in Guatemala, Stefano Gatto, the low participation, of 42 percent, has been a shocking fact, but still the result has been wide. However, he advanced that the future Government, which will have a minority representation in Congress, will need alliances to achieve its purposes.

On the issue of international relations, he admitted that the program "is not very detailed", but insisted that its objective is to have a "productive" relationship with the next authorities for economic recovery, health or employment.

Also read: Elections in Guatemala: Torres or Giammattei?

Congratulations came from the current president, Jimmy Morales, who urged him to work for the unity of Guatemala, and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who told Giammattei, who won with "a clear triumph ", has the support of the entity to work" for the benefit of the people. "

For his part, the head of the electoral mission of the OAS and former president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, was happy for a "splendid" day, without major incidents, but reiterated that abstention "says there is much to move forward" to improve the participation.

Solís, who directs the twentieth mission of the OAS in Guatemala, recalled that Giammattei will have to dialogue with many political and social forces to build "governance spaces", with agreements from Congress, a "natural part of the democratic exercise" that he expects start soon.

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