Guatemalans Elect A New President In Weekend Election

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 14, 2019

The president-elect has not said whether he will implement the deal, though he has allowed that Guatemala has scant resources to apply to the issue. It also foresees granting US visas to some Guatemalan workers.

With the aid of prosecutors, the CICIG brought down the last president and then nearly toppled his successor - who reacted by ordering the commission to leave the country.

With preliminary results from over 99 percent of polling stations counted, the electoral tribunal declared Giammattei the victor with more than 58 percent of the vote, ahead of his center-left rival, former first lady Sandra Torres, with 42 percent. Adriana Beltran, director of citizen security at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a think tank, said the CICIG might just have a future "if Guatemalans take to the streets and there is enough pressure from within".

He said Guatemala must improve its diplomatic relations with the United States.

Similar to Giammattei, she is a strong advocate for "family values", which is reflective of a country where Catholic and Evangelical churches have established a strong foothold in internal politics and policymaking.

Many Guatemalans are fed up with the political class after investigations by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations anti-corruption body, led to the arrest of then-President Otto Perez in 2015, and then threatened to unseat his successor Morales, a former television comedian.

The deal was unpopular in Guatemala, and a high court blocked the country's president, Jimmy Morales, from signing the agreement last month. First-time voter Jessica Viviral, echoing the deep cynicism in the country, doubts the new president will fulfill his promises of jobs and prosperity. "You need to attack the causes (of corruption)".

Giammattei beat the center-right candidate Sandra Torres of the National Unity of Hope (UNE) party with a margin of approximately 20% of votes.

Recinos said there is space for the government to boost spending and recommended the new administration pursue fiscal reform to boost the tax take of around 10% of GDP in order to increase development.

The commission submitted hundreds of convictions to the Guatemalan Congress. Morales, a former comedian, was entangled in an investigation for allegedly accepting illegal campaign contributions.

"There needs to be goodwill on the part of authorities to keep fighting corruption and impunity", he said.

Morales announced in late 2017 that he had recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and meant to relocate his country's embassy to Jerusalem, making Guatemala the first nation to follow the lead of the US.

"None of these goals can be achieved, however, without combating corruption and strengthening the rule of law".

"I understand President Trump's position", in the perspective of the campaign, said Giammattei. "If he demonstrates a honest commitment do doing so, he can count on strong support from the United States Congress".

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