Guatemalan Elections Will Go to a Runoff

GUATEMALA CITY-At midnight the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) that oversees general elections announced that National Convergence Party (FCN-Nacion) candidate Jimmy Morales won 768 million votes or 26.6% of the vote to take the lead over the next front runners Manuel Baldizon under the LIDER party who won 17.9% and Sandra Torres representing the National Unity of Hope (UNE) party who garnered 16.9%.  No candidate won the necessary 51% of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Following an explosive popular uprising that saw thousands in the streets and eventually led to the resignation and arrest of President Otto Perez Molina the streets were quiet on election day in the Central Park area of Guatemala City.  The Central Park voting center took place in an underground parking lot where few people waited to vote by mid-day.

Few people wanted to share for whom they voted and the issues that they supported but Alfonso Punta Puente said that Guatemala has had a string of bad leaders:

”We’re waiting for another government to come and help Guatemala.  For that reason, we are on the edge and we are hoping that Guatemala will be different with other people who are not corrupt, that others come to move this country forward. 

Their perspectives are different.  They all say what they are going to do and each says what they think is going to be best, but for us as citizens it’s still our right to come vote and to elect.  But the reality has been that the best people haven’t always been elected in our country.”

And the exit of Perez Molina, is this a good turn for the country?

Yes I think so.  In interviews he said he didn’t know what was happening but he had to have known what was happening, but still he says not.  But he played everybody like puppets but well, that’s how the situation is so now we’re trying to elect someone else.”

Alvaro Calles Morales showed his inked finger that designated he had voted.  He told KGNU why he voted and that he is concerned about Guatemala but still holds out hope:

“Well above all we’re here exercising our right.  We as Guatemalan citizens have the power to exercise our suffrage our public opinion to be able to make a better decision for the next four years.  Also we know that Guatemala is in an important moment, a difficult moment, but a moment that could change the history of Guatemala for the better because we are an example right now for other nations at the global level because of the civil uprisings.  We hope that with that, with the participation that we are seeing right now, it’s a great demonstration of the statement that Guatemala wants to change and to elect good presidents, at least good governments that pay attention and can take it to the end.  We know that four years isn’t enough, but we can form good bases to be able to have a better future.”

Your concerns?

My concerns are that we will make a bad choice as a society that can elect bad governments that turn corrupt, that leave things up in the air, that leave debts that result from diverting money to your own campaign, generate contracts that can newly destroy Guatemala, exactly from where we are trying to recover right now.  This is what worries me about Guatemala.”

A runoff election will take place on October 25 to decide the winning candidate.







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