Observers say the result is widespread disillusion and distrust in the electoral process in this small Central American country that has seen hundreds of thousands flee poverty and gang violence in recent years in a bid for a new life in
Polls favor former first lady
Torres, 64, is a businesswoman who was seen as influencing decision-making during the 2008-2012 government of her then-husband, Álvaro Colom. She served as coordinator of the
But she has not been immune to the scandals that have hit other campaigns, with prosecutors opening an investigation into alleged illicit campaign financing involving her party. The case has not moved forward because candidates are protected from prosecution, and a judge denied a request to have that lifted for Torres, citing a law that targets violence against women.
Three other candidates were kicked off the ballot amid graft investigations, most notably former Chief Prosecutor
Aldana’s supporters see her removal as a signal that corrupt elites feared the prospect of her presidency.
Observers, and voters themselves, say the result of the chaotic campaign has been near universal cynicism.
“I don’t trust any of them,” said Paula Cojolón, a 58-year-old domestic worker.
Among the candidates seeking to make it through to an
Guatemalans are predominantly concerned about unemployment, violence, corruption, rising costs of living and the shoddy state of the country’s highways. Outgoing President
“If I don’t have work, I don’t eat. Nobody helps,” Cojolón said. “The candidates, no, they all offer things but nobody follows through.”
Three of the last four elected presidents — including Colom, Torres’ ex-husband — have been arrested post-presidency on charges of corruption. Graft allegations have also targeted
A recent poll from CID UpGallup Latinoamerica found that nearly a third of Guatemalan adults surveyed believed that whatever the outcome, it will be the result of fraud, while another 20% said the election’s legitimacy would be suspect because so many candidates were kept from running.
“The legitimacy of and confidence in the process has been seriously harmed,” political analyst
The surging migration north from
The election Sunday will be the first time that Guatemalans can cast ballots from abroad: At least 60,000 are eligible in