Jimmy Morales in lead as Presidential poll goes to second round
With 80.1% of polling stations having reported in yesterday’s general election it looks as though the Guatemalan presidential election will go to a second round on 25th October.
Jimmy Morales, a former comedian, and his centrist National Convergence Front (FCN) are the lead candidate and party in the results declared so far. Morales is probably the closest the people of Guatemala are going to get to someone outside of the political establishment following a major corruption scandal which toppled the president last week.
Morales is on 25.89% of the vote and the man who was expected to top the poll, Manuel Baldizón and his centre-right Renewed Democratic Liberty (Lider) party, is trailing in second place. Baldizón is an experienced politician and therefore part of the political elite. He was leading in the opinion polls prior to the election but has dropped dramatically in recent weeks as the corruption scandal took its toll on all parties associated with the political establishment. In the results so far he is on 18.52%, just ahead of Sandra Torres of the centre-left National Unity of Hope (UNE). It remains unclear which of these two candidates will go into a second round runoff against Morales.
The presidential candidate of the former President Otto Pérez Molina’s Patriotic Party (PP), Mario David García, is way behind in ninth place with just 4.02% of the vote. That is unsurprising as the Patriotic Party are at the centre of the storm over the corruption scandal. In 2011 Otto Pérez Molina took 36.01% of the vote in the first round whilst the Patriotic Party took 26.62% of the vote.
In comparison the National Convergence Front (FCN) took 0.53% of the vote and no seats and they did not contest the presidential election.
Turnout has not been formally announced but was reported to be as high as 80% compared with 69.34% in 2011.