In the presidential election in Guatemala, the conservative candidate Alejandro Giammattei has proclaimed the winner. It would be an "enormous honor for him to be president of this country," he said in Guatemala City.
Giammattei had after counting the votes in more than 80 percent of the polling stations a clear lead over his rival, the Social Democrat and former president's wife Sandra Torres. He came to just under 60 percent, Torres was in the runoff at about 40 percent.
Around eight million eligible citizens of the Central American country were called on Sunday to elect a successor to President Jimmy Morales. The vote went according to first reports peacefully and without major incidents.
The first round of voting on 16 June Torres had won with about 25.5 percent. Her Social Democratic Party (UNE) was by far the strongest force in Congress in the simultaneous parliamentary elections. Giammattei of the party Vamos came to just under 14 percent. Because no candidate achieved an absolute majority, there was a runoff between the two 63-year-olds.
In Guatemala, crime, unemployment and corruption play a major role for voters. Another important issue is a controversial migration agreement with the US, which the government signed two weeks ago. As a result, migrants entering Guatemala on their way to the United States can not apply for asylum in the United States, but must do so in Guatemala. But like other countries in the region, Guatemala is characterized by poverty and violence.
Giammattei said during the election campaign that he did not know the content of the agreement and would only deal with it after his election.