26 parties vie to win the most votes for a new president, 340 mayors, 160 congressional lawmakers, and 20 parliamentary ministers.
Guatemala's 26 political parties closed their campaigns Friday ahead of Sunday's general elections in which some eight million voters will crowd polling stations to cast their ballot.
26 registered parties will go head-to-head in the final fight for votes which will elect the nation’s new president, 340 mayors, 160 Congressional deputies and 20 parliamentary ministers.
At noon on Friday, candidates wrapped up their campaigns, as per legislation, prior to this first round of general elections. Entering the polls, voters will have to choose between 21 presidential candidates.
Among those leading the polls are Sandra Torres — wife of ex-President Alvaro Colom, a representative of the social democratic party, National Union of Hope (UNE). Following her is a great number of contenders led by Alejandro Giammattei of the newly established Vamos party, the former director of the jail system. Next is Roberto Arzu of the right-wing Pan-Podemos and finally Edmundo Mulet of the Guatemalan Humanist Party.
However, the Times News reports widespread discontent, with voters saying they don't trust any of the candidates, especially in light of a campaign plagued with scandals in which three candidates were disqualified for ethics violations.
With so many candidates in the field, it's probable that no one will win an absolute majority. If no candidate achieves an absolute majority in the first-round vote, a runoff is scheduled for August 11 between the two frontrunners.
A huge number of challenges await the winner of Guatemala’s presidential election who will need to tackle some of country’s most urgent problems including high poverty rates, political and economic exclusion of the Indigenous population, its massive outflow of migrants to the United States seeking asylum from violence, and above all, the rampant crime and corruption which remain deeply rooted in the political system.