Thursday, September 3rd, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Following the breaking news overnight of the resignation of President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina, who faces corruption charges in a long-running customs scandal, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told reporters today that his presidency had not been marked by as much hardline behavior as might have been expected given his military background.
The Prime Minister had warm words for his departing counterpart, saying that under his leadership Belize had benefited from unexpectedly close relationships with the neighbor to the west.
He called him “a gentleman…restrained and responsible” and someone who was strong enough to recognize Belize’s “separateness” from Guatemala, subject to the unfounded claim, which is usually a no-no in Guatemalan politics.
As for Belize-Guatemala relations, the Prime Minister admits that instability in Guatemala on top of recent issues over the Sarstoon is “extremely worrying” and puts faith in the ability of the military to keep things calm and professional.
Vice-President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre serves out the rest of Perez Molina’s term, but he will soon have a successor. The first round of presidential, congressional and municipal elections are scheduled for this coming Sunday, September 6, and the two front-runners in the presidential race are Perez-Molina’s defeated rival in 2011,
Manuel Baldizon, and former First Lady Sandra Torres, who has Belizean background and ties to the Opposition People’s United Party, as sister to the wife of former representative Dr. Gregorio Garcia, Narda Garcia, and aunt of Corozal Bay candidate Gregorio ‘Papas’ Garcia. P.M.
Barrow has no favorites but says neither struck him as advocating any change in Belize’s relationship with Guatemala. Meeting with him at the start of his campaign here, Barrow says he was told he could expect a strengthening of relations and a platform that continues to respect Belize’s separate reality.
According to Barrow, Torres’ Belizean background can help us, but it may also hurt if she thinks she has something to prove.
If there is no clear winner a run-off will be held in October.
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