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Guatemala Comic to Face Former First Lady in Presidency Run-off

  • Reuters

Guatemalan presidential candidate Sandra Torres arrives for a news conference in Guatemala City, Sept. 7, 2015.

Guatemalan presidential candidate Sandra Torres arrives for a news conference in Guatemala City, Sept. 7, 2015.

A Guatemalan comedian who led a first round of presidential elections this month will face off against a former first lady in a second round of voting in October, after a conservative businessman announced his resignation on Monday.

With 99.1 percent of votes counted from elections on Sept. 6, Manuel Baldizon was in third place, trailing leftist former first lady Sandra Torres by about 6,000 votes.

Baldizon said he would step down as head of the Renewed Democratic Liberty (Lider) party, ending his presidential bid, since Guatemalan law forbids candidates from running without party support.

Jimmy Morales looks on during an interview with Reuters in Guatemala City, Aug. 20, 2015.

Jimmy Morales looks on during an interview with Reuters in Guatemala City, Aug. 20, 2015.

Comic actor Jimmy Morales, whose anti-corruption message resonated with voters after a graft scandal felled President Otto Perez, won easily, but he did not secure the 50 percent of votes needed to head off a second round of voting on Oct. 25.

"They asked me to accept the results my dignity and my honor are priceless...I do not endorse this electoral process," Baldizon said at a news conference, adding that he would not support either of the candidates.

Manuel Baldizon gestures during a political rally in Mixco, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Aug. 30, 2015.

Manuel Baldizon gestures during a political rally in Mixco, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Aug. 30, 2015.

Baldizon was a favorite to win earlier this year until his vice presidential running mate, Edgar Barquin, was accused of corruption. Barquin has not yet been charged.

The conservative businessmen accused election authorities of fraud last week, since they have yet to publish final results of the polls in central America's largest economy.

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