Progressive candidate wins Guatemala’s presidential election by wide margin

Progressive candidate wins Guatemala’s presidential election by wide margin

Bernardo Arevalo pledges to break ties with traditional politicians and end corruption

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Center-left anti-corruption candidate Bernardo Arevalo won the second round of Guatemala's presidential election Sunday over conservative candidate Sandra Torres.

With more than 98% of the votes counted, the results by the Supreme Electoral Court showed Arevalo winning with 58% of the vote. Torres came in second with 36%.

"Viva Guatemala!" Arevalo said on Twitter.

Guatemala elected a new president after a turbulent electoral process that was shrouded in controversy. The country's Attorney General's Office tried to disqualify Arevalo's Semilla Movement party over an alleged corruption case that many have called a hoax after he surprisingly finished second in the first round. Days later, a court ordered the suspension of the party and the Guatemalan police raided the party’s offices.

The crisis prompted widespread protests in the Central American country and boosted Arevalo's presidential aspirations.

Arevalo, 64, the son of former President Juan Jose Arevalo, was the big surprise in the first presidential round on June 25 because no poll showed him as the possible winner. He was positioned as the anti-corruption candidate and distanced himself from the traditional political class that has run the country for years. His victory will mark a shift to the left in the country.

During his career, he held positions such as vice minister of foreign affairs in Guatemala, consul in Israel and ambassador to Spain. He is currently a member of Congress.

Torres, 67, is a former first lady who in 2011 divorced her husband to overcome the constitutional block on her running for office. She advocated for conservative and religious values and pledged to wage war against gangs, emulating President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador.

Over 9 million people were eligible to vote in Sunday's general election to choose who would replace current President Alejandro Giammattei, but the abstention rate was 55%.

Giammattei congratulated Arevalo in a tweet on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

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