Guatemalans head to polls for 2nd round of presidential election

Guatemala City, Aug 20 (EFE).- Polling centers in Guatemala opened Sunday for the second round of presidential elections.

The candidates vying for the presidency are the winner of the first round held on June 25, the conservative Sandra Torres Casanova of the National Unity of Hope (UNE), and the second placed candidate, the progressive Bernardo Arévalo de León, of the Movimiento Semilla (“Seed Movement”).

The interior ministry has deployed some 42,000 police officers to boost security measures at nearly 3,500 polling stations across the Central American country.

More than 8,000 national and international observers, including from the European Union and the Organization of American States, will monitor the election, which according to experts is the most controversial that has taken place in the country since democracy was established in 1986.

The international concern is over attempts by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to challenge the Semilla party and prevent the academic Arévalo de León from running.

The leftist candidate confounded pre-election surveys to surprisingly come second in the first round in June, largely thanks in to urban voters.

Torres Casanova, who has strong support in rural areas, hopes to become the first woman to govern the country, after losing the 2015 and 2019 ballots.

According to polls released four days before the election, Arévalo De León could garner 61% of the vote, far above Torres Casanova’s 37%.

Voting centers will remain open until 6pm local time, with initial results expected within two to four hours. EFE


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