Actor Jimmy Morales beats front-runners to top of polls in Guatemala

Monday, September 7th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: A run-off vote is scheduled for October 25 after, as expected, none of the 14 candidates for President of Guatemala in Sunday’s vote was able to obtain half the vote.Jimmy morales

But with 97% of votes counted through this morning, according to the BBC, Jimmy Morales, a comic and actor running for the National Front of Convergence (FCN), was the surprise leader with 24.14% of the vote, or 1,153,277, five points ahead of front runners Sandra Torres of National Unity of Hope (UNE) and Manuel Baldizon Mendez of Renewed Democratic Liberty (LIDER), both on 19%.

Torres and Baldizon are locked in a tight battle to see who will join Morales in the run-off. The ruling Patriotic Party’s candidate Mario Garcia and Zury Rios both finished well behind the leaders.

About 69.6% of Guatemalans voted, defying expectations of low turnout due to disgust with the current political climate following the resignation of Otto Perez Molina last week as he faced corruption charges which he denies. Guatemalans were also voting for a vice-president, a new congress and local authorities.

“Guatemala wants change and to not be governed by people with dark pasts,” said Morales according to AFP, after voting near Guatemala City.

“Guatemala wants to live in peace. Guatemala wants elections,” Mr Baldizon told journalists after casting his vote.

However, the major parties are expected to hold the balance of seats in the new Congress.

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