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News ID: 42911
Publish Date: 12:02 - 11 August 2019
TEHRAN, August 11 -Guatemalans on Sunday vote in a second round run-off election for a new president who is likely to face a major challenge coping with a deal signed with Washington in July to turn the country into a buffer zone to stem migration.

Factbox: Guatemalan former first lady, surgeon in run-off for presidencyTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Denied the chance to vote for some popular candidates excluded from the race, voters have struggled to warm to two veteran campaigners competing to lead the poor, violence-plagued Central American country for a four-year term.

Below are profiles of both candidates.


Seeking the presidency for a third time, former first lady Torres, 63, is the candidate for the center-left National Unity of Hope (UNE), a party she founded 2002 with her ex-husband Alvaro Colom, president of Guatemala from 2008 to 2012.

In June, Torres won the first round of voting by more than 10 percentage points. But she failed to win an outright majority and pollsters put her in second place for Sunday’s vote.

A proponent of social programs to alleviate poverty, Torres wants to put troops on the streets to fight gangs that have made the country one of the most violent in the Americas, helping to spur mass migration to the United States.

Torres has vowed to improve conditions for the three million Guatemalans living in the United States, many of them illegally.

She says Guatemala’s Congress must pass the divisive “safe third country” agreement aimed at curbing Central American migration north that outgoing President Jimmy Morales agreed to with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

That deal aims to grant U.S. visas to some Guatemalan workers but her campaign said it also wants to secure better bilateral trading terms in return for supporting it.

The daughter of a former town mayor in a province of the jungle department of Peten, Torres is viewed by her allies as gifted organizer and leader. Critics accuse her of having authoritarian leanings.

During Colom’s tenure, Torres made a name for herself with welfare programs to help the poor. However, the schemes drew criticism from some business leaders.

Torres divorced Colom, her second husband, before his term ended in what many saw as a way to circumvent rules that prohibit family members running for the presidency.

Analysts say she has strong support in rural areas, home to the majority of Guatemala’s poor and indigenous populations, which suffered most during the country’s 1960-1996 civil war.

Source: reuters

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