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Monday, October 26

Big electoral win for Guatemala's 'outsider' anti-corruption presidential candidate

The USA isn't the only place with widespread voter anger against the political class. The Morales win and ousting of the former administration is a tribute to the Guatemalan people, who threw the bums out and now demand clean government. One of the bums blamed the country's troubles on the USA. I will cop to many criticisms of my country but not this one.    

Jimmy Morales, comic and self-styled outsider, wins Guatemala presidency

The anti-corruption candidate rode a wave of popular anger against the political class to take nearly 70% of the vote in Sunday’s election

Jimmy Morales and his wife Gina after winning the Guatemalan election on Sunday.
Photograph: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images

Associated Press via The Guardian
Monday 26 October 2015 - 00.07 EDT

Television comic and self-styled outsider Jimmy Morales has been elected as Guatemala’s next president, riding a wave of popular anger against the political class after huge anti-corruption protests helped oust the last government.

Morales claimed victory and his opponent, former first lady Sandra Torres, conceded defeat after official results showed him winning around 69% of the votes, with 94% of polling stations tallied.

“We recognise Jimmy Morales’ triumph and we wish him success,” Torres said. “Guatemala has serious problems, but the people made their choice and we respect it.”

The runoff was held a month and a half after president Otto Perez Molina resigned and was jailed in connection with a sprawling customs scandal. His former vice president has also been jailed in the multimillion-dollar graft and fraud scheme.

Though the protests have died down since Perez Molina’s resignation, many Guatemalans remain fed up with corruption and politics as usual, and Morales will face pressure to deliver immediately on widespread demands for reform.

“The important thing is that the next government avoids corruption,” said Alexander Pereira, an insurance salesman who was the first to vote at one polling place. “I hope that the next government really makes a change. We had an achievement in kicking out the last government.”

Javier Zepeda, executive director of the Chamber of Industry, said his business group had observed the vote and estimated turnout at around 45% to 50%, which would be down 20 points from the first round.

“The people already showed their rejection of corruption (in the previous vote) where they kicked politicians out,” Zepeda said.

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