Latin America

Arévalo wins Guatemalan presidential election

The social democrat Arévalo has won the runoff election for the presidency in Guatemala.

According to the Supreme Electoral Court, the 64-year-old prevailed against his rival Torres by a clear margin.

In Guatemala, the surprise Social Democrat candidate Bernardo Arévalo emerged victorious after a turbulent election campaign in the run-off for the presidency. The outsider from the Movimiento Semilla (Movement Seed Movement) party was almost 59 percent ahead of former First Lady and three-time presidential candidate Sandra Torres (36 percent) from the centre-left after almost all the votes were counted by the Supreme Electoral Authority on Sunday evening (local time). National Unity of Hope Party (UNE).

The 64-year-old Arévalo succeeds the conservative incumbent Alejandro Giammattei, who was not legally allowed to run again after four years in office.

“No significant incidents”

According to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), “no significant incidents” were reported. A “historic turnout” was recorded, the TSE said, without giving any further details.

The electoral process in Guatemala was marred by attempts by the political elite and the Attorney General’s Office to use legal means to halt the surprise rise of Arévalos on hopes of change. The European Union had expressed its concern about this. Several candidates had been excluded from the first ballot for controversial reasons.

Arévalo wants to fight violence and misery

The 64-year-old is the son of the country’s first democratically elected president, Juan José Arévalo. He wants to improve the education system and fight violence and misery. Arévalo also wants to take action against corruption and the erosion of democracy in Guatemala.

In June, he unexpectedly became the second strongest candidate in the first ballot. Torres landed in first place. In the previous two elections, Torres failed in the runoff.

Thousands of people leave Central America’s most populous country with 17 million inhabitants every month. In search of a better life, many are drawn to the USA. Other important issues for Guatemalans are crime, inflation and unemployment.

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