“I’m voting for Alejandro Giammattei because I don’t want Sandra Torres to get in, because her participation is a fraud and because she has pending legal issues,” said Ammy Montes, a 25-year-old teacher in Guatemala City.
Both candidates have vowed to fight corruption – albeit without “foreign interference,” an apparent nod to the CICIG.
Morales, who terminated the commission’s mandate effective as of September, is barred by law from standing again. But the migration deal he authorized could create a lasting legacy.
Risa Grais-Targow, Latin America director at consultancy Eurasia Group, said while the accord struck with Trump risks a popular backlash, not honoring it could expose Guatemala to U.S. taxes on remittances or tariffs on its goods.
“The next president faces a lose-lose situation when it comes to managing the deal with the United States,” she said. “That is the biggest challenge the incoming president faces.”
Giammattei, a surgeon, has proposed the death penalty for some criminals, and promised to erect an “investment wall” on the border between Guatemala and Mexico to curb migration.
Torres wants to put troops on the streets to fight gangs, and use welfare schemes to alleviate poverty.
In Mixco, on the outskirts of the capital, security guard Felix Tanchez said he would back Torres because of her proposals on jobs and security – but without much enthusiasm.