Alexa

Ex-general wins Guatemalan presidential election

 Guatemala's presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party, Otto Perez Molina, holds up his ballot before casting his vote in the presidential runoff ...
 Guatemala's presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party Otto Perez Molina holds up his ballot before casting his vote in the presidential runoff el...
 A man walks next to a mural depicting the army's repression during the country's civil war in San Juan Comala, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Guatem...
 A young girl snacks on an orange as she waits for her mother to vote in the presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov...
 A woman inks her finger after casting her vote in the presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Polls showe...
 A copy of Nuestro Diario featuring presidential runoff candidates Manuel Baldizon, left, and Otto Perez Molina, right, lies on a street market table ...
 A woman casts her vote in Guatemala's presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Polls showed Otto Perez Mol...
 Manuel Baldizon, presidential candidate for the Democratic Freedom Revival party, right, casts his vote along with his wife, Rosa Maria Vargas, left,...
 An illiterate man uses his fingerprint as signature after casting his vote during a presidential runoff election in San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala,...
 Manuel Baldizon, presidential candidate for the Democratic Freedom Revival party, shakes hands with electoral workers before casting his vote in the ...
 A woman checks her ID after casting her vote during Guatemala's presidential runoff election in San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala, Sunday, Nov. 6, 201...

Guatemala Election

Guatemala's presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party, Otto Perez Molina, holds up his ballot before casting his vote in the presidential runoff ...

Guatemala Election

Guatemala's presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party Otto Perez Molina holds up his ballot before casting his vote in the presidential runoff el...

Guatemala Election

A man walks next to a mural depicting the army's repression during the country's civil war in San Juan Comala, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Guatem...

Guatemala Election

A young girl snacks on an orange as she waits for her mother to vote in the presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov...

Guatemala Election

A woman inks her finger after casting her vote in the presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Polls showe...

APTOPIX Guatemala Election

A copy of Nuestro Diario featuring presidential runoff candidates Manuel Baldizon, left, and Otto Perez Molina, right, lies on a street market table ...

APTOPIX Guatemala Election

A woman casts her vote in Guatemala's presidential runoff election, in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, Sunday Nov. 6, 2011. Polls showed Otto Perez Mol...

Giuatemala Election

Manuel Baldizon, presidential candidate for the Democratic Freedom Revival party, right, casts his vote along with his wife, Rosa Maria Vargas, left,...

Guatemala Election

An illiterate man uses his fingerprint as signature after casting his vote during a presidential runoff election in San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala,...

Giuatemala Election

Manuel Baldizon, presidential candidate for the Democratic Freedom Revival party, shakes hands with electoral workers before casting his vote in the ...

Guatemala Election

A woman checks her ID after casting her vote during Guatemala's presidential runoff election in San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala, Sunday, Nov. 6, 201...

A former general promising to get tough on rampant crime and drug violence easily won Guatemala's presidential election on Sunday, marking a shift to the right in the poor Central American nation.
Otto Perez Molina of the conservative Patriotic Party won 55 percent of the vote, topping tycoon-turned-political populist Manuel Baldizon of the Democratic Freedom Revival party, who had 45 percent with 96 percent of the vote counted, according to Guatemala's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Perez, 61, is the first former military leader elected president in Guatemala in the 25 years after the end of brutal military rule. While that concerns some international groups, Guatemala has a young population, and many don't remember the war.
Witnesses say hundreds of villages were obliterated by the army's scorched-earth policy. Perez has said there were no massacres or genocide.
He has never been charged with any atrocities and was one of the army's chief representatives in negotiating the 1996 peace accords.
Voter turnout was less than 50 percent. In some regions it was about half what it was for the initial presidential election on Sept. 11, according analyst Oscar Almengor, who led a team of observers from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala.
"The low participation is one of the indicators that worries us because it shows that the people don't support or feel represented by the political options," said Manfredo Marroquin of the non-governmental organization, Mirador Electoral, or Electoral Observer.
Outgoing center-left President Alvaro Colom, who can't run for re-election, urged both sides to respect the results from the electoral tribunal "to avoid violence and illegal acts." He said 106 people had been detained nationwide on suspicion of violating of various election laws.
Earlier Sunday, Perez accused Baldizon of offering gifts, including zinc sheeting, in exchange for votes, while Baldizon urged voters not to elect someone with "blood on his hands" for Perez's involvement the military during the country's 36-year civil war.
More than half of Guatemalans live in poverty in a nation 14 million overrun by organized crime and Mexican drug cartels. Colom had to send troops to retake some provinces from the Zetas drug gang, including Baldizon's home state of Peten bordering Mexico.
Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in the world, a product of gang and cartel violence, along with the legacy of its 1960-1996 civil war in which the army, police and paramilitary are blamed for killed the vast majority of 200,000 victims _ most of whom were Mayan.
Perez's campaigning focused on fighting the street gangs and cartels. Both candidates lean to the right after the center-left party of Colom failed to field a candidate. Colom cannot run for re-election.
Perez narrowly lost four years ago to Colom, a leftist who promised to fight crime with social programs, but whom many considered weak.
The wild card was the sudden popularity of Baldizon, who the traditional ruling class in Guatemala has painted as inept.
Baldizon, 41, barely registered in the polls when campaigning began six months ago and had risen dramatically to the point that many predicted a close race.
The businessman has made many promises that some considered outlandish, including that he would take Guatemala's soccer team to the World Cup. But other promises are appealing in a country with rampant poverty and crime, including giving workers an extra month's salary a year, reinstating the death penalty and televising executions.


Updated : 2021-03-06 04:01 GMT+08:00