A runoff next month will decide who will become Guatemala’s next president, with comedian-turned-politician Jimmy Morales as the race’s front-runner in the Central American nation battling a political crisis. Guatemala, a country of 15 million, is reeling from a corruption scandal that has prompted the resignation of its president, vice president and more than a dozen Cabinet members, ministers and government officials. No candidate came close to the 50% plus one needed to lock up the vote in Sunday’s election. Morales, 46, had 1.14 million votes, or more than 24%. Businessman Manuel Baldizón, 45, was running neck and neck with former first lady Sandra Torres, 59, with 19.41% and 19.25% of the vote, respectively, according to Guatemala’s electoral tribunal. Most votes have been counted and final results of the first round are expected soon.
Morales will face off with either Baldizón or Torres, whoever ends up ahead once the final tally becomes official. The runoff election will be October 25.
The National Convergence Front’s Morales jumped into the political scene in 2011 with a failed run for mayor of Mixco, a Guatemala City suburb. Baldizón is with the Renewed Democratic Liberty Party, and, Torres, former first lady from 2008 to 2011, is with the National Unity of Hope party. She is divorced from former President Álvaro Colom.