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The election winner will hold the presidency from 2024 to 2028, replacing the current administration led by Alejandro Giammattei.
On Sunday, 9.3 million Guatemalans are heading to the polls for the presidential runoff between Sandra Torres from the National Unity of Hope (UNE) and the progressive scholar Bernardo Arevalo from the Seed Movement (Semilla).
The current electoral process has been the most controversial in Guatemala since the establishment of democracy in 1986, marred by the prominent role of the Public Ministry, which has attempted to annul the Seed Movement and hinder Arevalo's participation.
These elections hold at stake the continuity of a system that has weakened democracy and ensured impunity for traditional politicians in this Central American country.
Sandra Torres, 67, is a conservative politician who relies on her alliances with mayors from different regions and the rural structure her party has built for over 15 years.
The former first lady lost the runoff elections in 2015 and 2019, and experts believe her connection to corruption cases generates strong anti-votes in urban areas.
In the first round on June 25th, Torres secured the first place with nearly 900,000 votes, representing around 15 percent of the electorate.
#Elecciones2023 | UNE and Semilla reach the final stretch for Guatemala’s presidencial elections after a surprising first round. InSight Crime explores how the country’s political networks have dominated the state for years. https://t.co/bNlQsDW7cB
On the other hand, 64-year-old Arevalo, driven by an anti-corruption proposal and his father's legacy, former president Juan Arevalo (1945-1951), surprised everyone on June 25 by securing the second place with over 600,000 votes.
His progress prompted the Public Ministry, consisting of prosecutors sanctioned for corruption by the United States, to launch a campaign of arrest warrants and attempts to dissolve his party over alleged irregularities in the Seed Movement's registration process in 2018.
In the week leading up to the runoff, polls favor Arevalo with 61 percent of the intended vote, while Torres accumulates 37 percent.
TENSION AND UNCERTAINTY
The prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche did not rule out that after the presidential runoff, he might issue arrest warrants and pretrial requests against party members over the alleged corruption case.
Two days ago, Arevalo stated that "after winning the election, the corrupt will do anything" to prevent him from assuming power on January 14, 2024.
The election winner will hold the presidency from 2024 to 2028, replacing the current administration led by Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative politician linked to dozens of bribery and corruption cases during his tenure.