GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalans will select between a gaggle of presidential hopefuls on Sunday’s election at a time when drug trafficking and violence high the listing of voter issues, and a trailblazing anti-corruption fee is about to shut down.
Voters may even elect 158 lawmakers to the unicameral Congress in addition to scores of native officers unfold throughout 22 departments in Central America’s most populous nation.
If no presidential candidate wins greater than 50% in Sunday’s first spherical election, a second spherical shall be held in August. Some 8.5 million Guatemalans are eligible to vote.
What follows are temporary profiles of six candidates – amongst a complete of 19 – vying to be the nation’s subsequent chief.
Former First Girl Sandra Torres, 63, of the center-left Nationwide Unity of Hope (UNE) social gathering leads the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales, a former tv host. In 2002, she based UNE alongside together with her ex-husband Alvaro Colom, who was president from 2008 to 2012.
She has pledged to get powerful on crime by sending troops onto the streets in addition to decreasing rampant poverty by boosting social applications, one thing she additionally prioritized when first girl.
Torres, who turn into the frontrunner within the polls after different main candidates have been disqualified, has run for president twice earlier than. She confronted accusations of illicit marketing campaign financing throughout her 2015 presidential run, although she is immune from prosecution attributable to her standing as a candidate.
Veteran diplomat and former congressman Edmond Mulet, 68, is competing for the Humanist Social gathering, a brand new center-right grouping. The previous U.N. official and ex-ambassador to america was first elected to Congress within the mid-1980s and went on to function the legislature’s president within the early 1990s.
Mulet turned his focus to diplomacy in 2000 when he turned Guatemala’s ambassador to the European Union. He has criticized america for its insatiable demand for medication and has promised to scrub up authorities and enhance safety.
Operating a naked bones marketing campaign, Mulet shocked many by coming in second in a latest ballot.
In his fourth consecutive run for president, 63-year-old surgeon Alejandro Giammattei has pledged to construct a “wall of funding” alongside Guatemala’s border with Mexico as a way of selling improvement and discouraging migration.
Whereas he brazenly admits that he has been supplied cash from drug gangs, he says he all the time rebuffed them.
Giammattei is the top of the center-right Vamos social gathering and he ran Guatemala’s jail system from 2005 to 2007. Throughout that point, a number of prisoners died whereas behind bars, and in 2010 Giammattei was arrested and accused of abuse of energy and involvement in extrajudicial executions.
He by no means went to trial within the case and was freed after being imprisoned for 10 months in a army jail.
The son of former conservative President Alvaro Arzu, Roberto Arzu has by no means run for workplace earlier than. Whereas he has constantly trailed the opposite candidates within the polls and his political resume is skinny, he has served as a Latin American commerce official within the authorities of present president Morales.
Arzu, 49, can also be the ex-manager of Membership de Futbol Comunicaciones, certainly one of Guatemala’s high soccer golf equipment. As president, he has pledged to make use of the army to struggle crime, construct one million houses and create the identical variety of jobs, although he has not spelled out the plans intimately.
He has additionally emerged as a fierce critic of a U.N.-backed fee tasked with combating corruption and arranged crime often called the Worldwide Fee in opposition to Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), after as soon as supporting it.
CICIG is getting ready to depart in September after Morales refused to resume its mandate.
The one indigenous lady presidential candidate in a rustic through which by some counts 60 % of the inhabitants is indigenous. Cabrera’s Mayan Mam household have been espresso pickers.
Her social gathering is looking for an overhaul of the structure to create what it calls a plurinational state that will give extra energy to the indigenous inhabitants.
A former paratrooper with Guatemala’s feared Kaibil particular forces, Galdamez is working on a right-wing platform that desires to introduce the loss of life penalty and get rid of earnings taxes.
Galdamez lately tweeted that in Guatemala’s bloody 1960-1996 civil struggle battle he by no means killed anyone unjustly. “I solely fought guerrillas and socialists,” he wrote. Galdamez has a low rating in latest polls.
Reporting by Sonia Menchu and Adriana Barrera; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Enhancing by Franklin Paul