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A Guide to 2019 Latin American Elections: Guatemala



On June 16, some 7.6 million Guatemalans were eligible to vote for president, vice president, the entire 160-seat Congress, and 340 mayors. After a race that saw multiple top-tier candidates eliminated via questionable court decisions, voters had to choose between former First Lady Sandra Torres and ex-penitentiary director Alejandro Giammattei in an August 11 runoff. Turnout hit just 42 percent during the second round, which Giammattei—a four-time candidate who came in second to Torres in the first round—won with 58 percent of the vote. 

On January 14, 2020, Giammattei will take the reins from Jimmy Morales, a former comedian who won in 2015 by making anti-corruption pledges. Instead, his government found itself tainted by corruption allegations and witnessed the end of the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala—or CICIG. Morales now has one of the lowest approval ratings in the Americas.

Guatemalan presidents can only serve a single four-year term.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2019 Election Guide.

Alejandro Giammattei (AP)

Guatemala's 2019 Runoff Vote: Giammattei Wins Presidency

August 12, 2019

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei beat Sandra Torres in a runoff amid low voter turnout to replace Jimmy Morales.

Guatemala Poll Update

Poll Update: Guatemala's 2019 Presidential Runoff

August 07, 2019

Alejandro Giammattei leads Sandra Torres in polling ahead of the August 11 runoff to replace Jimmy Morales.

A voting center in Guatemala. (AP)

3 Things to Know ahead of Guatemala's Presidential Runoff

August 07, 2019

Sandra Torres and Alejandro Giammattei will face off in an August 11 runoff with an expected low voter turnout and amid an immigration deal with Washington.

Voters in Guatemala

Guatemala Update: Torres and Giammattei Head to a Runoff

June 17, 2019

The former first lady will face an ex-prison director in a second-round vote on August 11.

A Guatemalan voter. (AP)

Explainer: Guatemala's Presidential Election

June 06, 2019

With the first-round vote slated for June 16, here’s a look at what’s at stake and who’s still in the running. 

2019 Election Guide poll update graphic

Poll Update: Guatemala's 2019 Presidential Race

June 14, 2019

Sandra Torres has a healthy lead in polling ahead of the June 16 general elections, but she shouldn't rest easy.

Sandra Torres

LatAm in Focus: Who's In and Who's Out in Guatemala's Presidential Race

May 30, 2019

Political scientist Marielos Chang explains why Sandra Torres is the candidate to beat, though her win is not a sure bet. The first-round vote takes place June 16.

Meet the Candidates: Guatemala

April 11, 2019

Two months out from Guatemala's election, it's still unclear who will be allowed on the ballot.

All Eyes on Guatemala as Crisis Brews Ahead of Elections

February 01, 2019

President Jimmy Morales' maneuvering against Guatemala's institutions could give the U.S. a chance to recalibrate its policy.

Voters in Panama on Election Day. (AP)

2019 Latin American Elections: A Preview

January 09, 2019

AS/COA Online takes a look at upcoming presidential races in Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay.

Could This Prosecutor Become Guatemala's Next President?

July 10, 2018

Thelma Aldana made her mark in Guatemala’s fight against corruption. Is she ready for politics?

5 Ways the Guatemalan Government Is Trying to Dismantle CICIG

September 18, 2018

A closer look at the offensive against the UN anti-corruption body operating in Guatemala.