Sunday, September 09, 2007

Guatemala electing new president

Article from BBC News:

The presidential vote is expected to go to second round
Guatemalans are voting in presidential and parliamentary elections after one of the bloodiest campaigns in the country's history.

More than 50 candidates, activists and their relatives have been murdered in the run-up to the elections.

The two main presidential contenders are Alvaro Colom, a centre-left businessman, and a former general, Otto Perez Molina.

They have vowed to fight crime and reduce poverty.

Mr Colom, who is running for the presidency for the third time in a row, has promised to overhaul the security forces and the judicial system, which many criticise for being slow, corrupt and inefficient.

Otto Perez Molina of the Patriotic Party addresses supporters
Otto Perez Molina says he will bring back the death penalty
Mr Perez Molina has pledged to increase the size of the police force by 50% and revive the death penalty.

Of the 14 presidential candidates, Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchu is the best-known internationally, but she trails far behind the front-runners.

Alejandro Giammattei, from President Oscar Berger's party, is also trailing in the polls.

None of the candidates is expected to win the 50% support needed to win outright, and a second round run-off is expected on 4 November.

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