Ballot counting is under way following Guatemala’s presidential election with Otto Perez, a retired general from the right-wing Patriot Party, holding an early lead, according to preliminary results. But with candidates needing more than 50 per cent of ballots to avoid a runoff, the election looked certain to be heading for a second round later in the year.
Otto Perez Manila, 60, who promises to send troops to the streets to fight criminal gangs, had received 37 per cent support with more than 60 per cent of ballots counted by 9.34GMT. This was still well shy of the 50 per cent needed for an outright first-round victory.
His share of the vote was less than earlier polls had predicted, but he still had a lead of 15 percentage points over his nearest rival, Manuel Baldizon, 41.
The two men now seem certain to face each other in a November 6 runoff election, as previous polls also indicated. Neither of the candidates was likely to claim over half the votes, according to these opinion polls.
If that is confirmed after the ballot counting, the top two finishers will face off in a runoff election on November 6. The new president will take office in January.