National Advancement Party

Published 16th August, 2011

The centre right National Advancement Party or PAN was founded in 1989 by Álvaro Arzú Irigoyen. Its founder built a reputation as an efficient administrator whilst he was Mayor of Guatemala City , a post he resigned to fight the 1990 presidential election.

His first attempt in 1990 landed him fourth place with 17.3% of the vote whilst PAN took 12 of 116 seats in Congress. But in 1994 PAN took 23 seats out of an 80 seat Congress and in 1995 Arzú won in the second round of the presidential contest with 51.2% of the vote; meanwhile PAN took 43 of 80 Congress seats.

President Arzú signed a peace agreement with the URNG but his government lost support as it fought with difficult economic and social problems. In 1999 the PAN presidential candidate, Óscar Berger, came second and PAN took 37 of 113 Congress seats. Post election splits within the party saw an Arzú faction leave and form the Unionist Party (PU) whilst in 2003 Berger and his faction left and formed the GANA alliance.

In 2003 the severely damaged PAN came fourth in the presidential election and held just 17 seats in the 158 seat parliament. By 2007 the party was a shadow of its former self, their presidential candidate came ninth and the party managed just four seats in the 158 seat Congress.

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