The former first lady heads the first round of voting in the presidential elections in Guatemala


A former Guatemalan first lady leads the anticipated count in the presidential elections on Sunday in the Central American country, where the electorate hopes to find a candidate with a high level of unemployment, violence, and corruption.

Sandra Torres, a 64-year-old businesswoman, led with 24% of the vote, followed by four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei, 63, former director of the country's penitentiary system, with 15%, according to The Associated Press. A tiebreaker election is expected

Towers of the party of the National Union of Hope (Union Nacional de la Esperanza) and Giammattei of the center-right party Vamos leads a field at the headquarters of former television comedian Jimmy Morales, whose term ends in January.

The businessman Robert Arzú, Edmond Auguste Mulet Lesieur, former chief of staff of the Secretary-General of the United States. UU Ban Ki-moon, and Thelma Cabrera, an indigenous rights activist, were also among the main candidates.

More than 8 million citizens are eligible to vote. This election was also the first in which Guatemalans living abroad cast their votes.

The campaign lasted three months, with Torres, running on an investment platform in health, education, and agriculture, maintaining its status as a leader in everything.

Torres married former president Álvaro Colom, who served from 2008 to 2012, but the couple divorced in 2011

As part of an anti-corruption campaign by incumbent President Morales, Colom was arrested last year. He is awaiting trial. Morales has become the target of an anti-corruption campaign.

The AP notes that "the campaign season was marked by a chaotic series of court rulings, scams, illegal party changes and allegations of embezzlement ..."

Whoever becomes the President of the United States, the Trump Administration has pressured Guatemala to become a "safe third country" to migrate refugees from neighboring El Salvador and Honduras, who might otherwise seek asylum in the United States through Mexico

According to Voice of America, "Under the terms of the proposed agreement, migrants fleeing persecution in El Salvador and Honduras will be forced to seek asylum in Guatemala, a gateway to Mexico and the United States. migrants that Selected to continue north to the United States without first investigating their chances in Guatemala have returned to their countries of origin by the United States immigration forces. "