Giammattei Wins Guatemala Presidential Election

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 14, 2019

The 63-year-old doctor, who uses crutches because he has multiple sclerosis, stridently opposes gay marriage and abortion and endorses family values.

He has campaigned for the presidency three times before this year, finally winning it on his fourth run.

Guatemalan presidential candidate for the Vamos (Let's Go) party Alejandro Giammattei waves to supporters after delivering a speech in Guatemala City on August 11, 2019.

Speaking to Reuters shortly before being declared victor, the conservative Giammattei said he wanted to see what could be done to improve the deal that outgoing President Jimmy Morales agreed to in order to stem USA -bound migration from Central America.

"It will be an vast honour to be president of this country that I love so much", said Mr Giammattei.

"It's not right for the country", Giammattei said of the deal.

Three of the last four elected presidents have been arrested post-presidency on charges of graft, and Morales himself chose to disband and bar the United Nations anti-corruption commission after he became a target for alleged campaign finance violations.

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei swept aside his center-left rival in Guatemala's presidential election on Sunday, and now inherits an unpopular migration deal agreed under duress with the Trump administration that could severely test his country.

The country's general elections were held June 16, but no presidential candidate won the necessary votes to assume the post after the first round. She married and divorced former President Alvaro Colom who was Guatemala's president from 2008 to 2012.

Mr Giammattei has hardly come off any better. Investigative site Nomada branded Giammattei "impulsive. despotic, tyrannical. capricious, vindictive" - and worse.

Voting stations were also set up in USA cities with high concentrations of Guatemalan immigrants, such as Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Maryland.

They will find a president closer to the people, who knows what we have to do, who knows that our country is polarized and divided.

"We will rebuild Guatemala.

We need both Mexico and Guatemala to continue doing what they're doing", referring to Mexico's own campaign to block migrants from crossing its border with the United States. That compares to Guatemala's export revenue of $10.5 billion. According to the World Bank, remittances account for 12% of the country's gross domestic product.

Under the agreement, migrants from neighboring El Salvador and Honduras will have to apply for asylum in Guatemala instead of in the United States, effectively turning the country into a buffer zone for Trump to stem migration north.

Around half the killings are blamed d on drug trafficking and extortion operations carried out by powerful gangs.

Current President Jimmy Morales can not stand for a second term.

He urged his replacement to reduce undocumented migration, improve education and tackle chronic malnutrition in the under-fives, which affects 46 per cent of infants.

Guatemalans aren't subject to Mr Trump's proposed migrant measures, but given that poverty in some indigenous areas reaches 80 per cent, many embark on the journey in search of the "American dream" despite the dangers. At least 1% of Guatemala's population of some 16 million has left the country this year.

And in June, a woman and three children died from heat and dehydration in Texas.

Guatemalan refugees are one of the main groups reaching the United State's southern border seeking asylum, an issue that has dogged President Donald Trump since his inauguration and has only worsened in the last several months following on-month increases in the number of people reaching the border and mass criticism against his administration's policies concerning the treatment of migrants, particularly children, once they make it to the United States.

More than 250,000 Guatemalans were detained between October 2018 and July this year for trying to enter the USA illegally, Washington's embassy said.

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