Guatemala elects right-wing president amid dismal turnout

Sandra Cuffe | The Washington Post

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalans on Sunday elected Alejandro Giammattei as their next president. When he takes office Jan. 14, he will inherit a nation plagued by years of political scandal, where a recent surge in migration has laid bare the monumenta l challenges ahead.

Giammattei, the right-wing Vamos party candidate who is a former prisons director, beat out former first lady Sandra Torres for the next four-year term. The presidential runoff election came at a crucial moment — as Guatemala prepares for the possible implementation of a “safe third country” agreement with the United States, a plan touted by the Trump administration but with potentially grave consequences for a country whose own citizens are fleeing in droves.

Guatemala is the leading country of origin of migrants and asylum seekers apprehended at the U.S. southern border.

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