Jimmy Morales Wins Guatemala’s Presidential Election
Jimmy Morales has been elected as Guatemala’s president after winning the runoff vote in the country’s presidential election.
The former comedian has no experience in government.
Jimmy Morales polled 72% against former Guatemala first lady Sandra Torres, who is seen by many as part of the country’s unpopular political elite.
Sandra Torres admitted defeat before all the votes were counted, as the margin of Jimmy Morales’ lead became clear.
The vote took place a month after the resignation and arrest of President Otto Perez Molina.
Otto Perez Molina is accused of leading a corrupt network of politicians and customs officials.
The former president denies involvement in a scheme which saw businessmen pay bribes to evade customs charges.
Many voters see Jimmy Morales as a fresh start following nationwide protests that ousted Otto Perez Molina.
“As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us. God bless and thank you,” said Jimmy Morales after the count.
However, turnout was low, despite calls for voters to help Guatemala overcome a serious political crisis.
Sandra Torres ran government social programs when her ex-husband Alvaro Colom was president between 2008 and 2012.
Jimmy Morales has regaled voters with stories about his humble origins and jokes from a 14-year period on a TV comedy show.
He has been criticized for some of his more far-fetched policies which include the tagging of teachers with a GPS device to ensure they attend classes and giving each Guatemalan child an iPhone.
Jimmy Morales’ manifesto is only six pages – giving few indications as to how he might run the country – but he is known to favor low taxes and limited government.
One of his most famous comedy roles was that of a useless cowboy who becomes president by accident.
Jimmy Morales faces a difficult task as his National Convergence Front (FCN) will have just 11 out of 158 seats in the next Congress.
Critics accuse Jimmy Morales of having no program and no team, just the ability to exploit voter grievances.
His rise in the polls has been attributed to his targeting of public sector corruption which has engulfed the government.
One investigation found that former President Otto Perez Molina and his vice president were at the center of the customs scam. Both deny any involvement.
Otto Perez Molina was impeached, deprived of his presidential immunity and arrested in September. He is now in jail awaiting trial.