Guatemala City, Aug 20 (EFE).- Progressive academic Bernardo Arévalo de León, of the Movimiento Semilla (“Seed Movement”), was elected Guatemala’s new president after beating former first lady Sandra Torres Casanova in the runoff on Sunday.
Guatemalan presidential candidate Sandra Torres speaks during a press conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on 20 August 2023. EFE-EPA/Christian Guitierrez
With 90 percent of the votes counted, 64-year-old Arévalo de León had secured a total of 2.2 million ballots, or 59 percent of the total, while Torres Casanova had garnered 1.3 million votes, or 35 percent.
Supporters of the elected president of Guatemala, Bernardo Arevalo, celebrate the result of the elections today in Guatemala City, Guatemala 20 August 2023. EFE-EPA/Esteban Biba
The Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) will make the result official in the next few hours.
Arévalo de León will be sworn in on Jan. 14 for a four-year term, replacing current President Alejandro Giammattei.
Giammattei congratulated Arévalo de León on his victory and invited him to begin an orderly transition a day after the results are certified.
He also praised the Guatemalans for conducting the elections peacefully with few isolated incidents.
Arévalo de León has a lead of more than 900,000 votes over his opponent, which experts say is insurmountable.
A total of 3.7 million Guatemalans, or 40 percent, of the 9.3 million eligible cast their votes in Sunday’s election.
So far, 44,586 blank and 129,050 null votes have been cast, according to preliminary data from the TSE.
This election has been among the most controversial in Guatemala since the establishment of democracy in 1986, due to the extreme judicialization of the electoral process and intervention by the attorney general’s office, headed by prosecutors sanctioned for corruption by the United States State Department.
In recent weeks, the attorney general’s office accused Arévalo de Leon’s party of an alleged case of false signatures in its creation process in 2018.
On Thursday, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Rafael Curruchiche, said he could issue arrest warrants and pretrial motions against senior members of Movimiento Semilla.
Arévalo De León, who is currently a lawmaker, came to the runoff driven by a solid urban vote, with a promise to fight corruption in the Central American country and looking to emulate the presidency of his father, Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, who governed the country between 1945-1951. EFe