Hardline President Elected In Guatemala

Hardline President Elected In Guatemala to oppose Trump immigration deal. Alejandro Giammattei, has been elected as the new president of Guatemala. He gave a victory speech after winning the Sunday’s presidential election. He is a conservative law and order hardliner who has promised to reinstate the death penalty and deploy soldiers on to the streets. Giammattei, a 63 years old former prisons chief backed by the country’s economic and military power broker, trounced his opponent Sandra Torres, a former first lady to win Sunday’s presidential race on his fourth attempt by securing 58% of the vote.

Hardline President Elected In Guatemala

The low turnout triggered Giammattei’s legitimacy despite the landslide victory. Approximately 60% of qualified voters abstained after both candidates failed in their quest to inspire hope in the Central American country, where tens of thousands of people flee extreme poverty, femine, violence as well as corruption every month.

Despite the growing tension with the US over immigration asylum Giammattei’s triumph was unstoppable. Shortly before his victory, Giammattei said he wanted to change a controversial migration deal signed with the US by his predecessor, Jimmy Morales.

Since 2018, more than 250,000 Guatemalans, mostly unaccompanied children and families, have been apprehended at the US border as compared to the 115,722 in the previous 12 months. In his victory speech, Giammattei intend to stop the exodus by prioritising anti-corruption, employment and security.

Giammattei has criticised the “safe third country” agreement that was signed by President Donald Trump and Morales which, if enforced, would make migrants and refugees who have passed through Guatemala ineligible for protection in the US. Instead, they would be deported to Guatemala which has been deemed a safe place to seek refugee. The homicide rate in Guatemala was 22.4 per 100,000 people in 2018. This was four times higher than the US national average. Guatemala has been rated the most dangerous country in the world for environment and land defenders, with at least 16 killed in 2018.

Giammattei says he will seek to modify the controversial pact, which was signed last month amid threats by Trump’s administration to block Guatemalan exports and impose tariffs on billions of dollars in remittances. Details of the agreement remain murky, and currently face judicial and congressional obstacles in the US and Guatemala.

According to the congresswoman Sandra Moran; ” The president-elect must act now to stop the deal. We’ve still not seem any documents, only what’s been in the press, so it’s an agreement which right now cannot be actioned. Trump will keep insisting, so Giammattei and his transition team must get involved now.”

Giammattei’s victory is a huge blow to the fight against corruption and impunity. He rejects Cicig and a strong justice system, so we’re going back to a time when extrajudicial killings were committed with impunity,” said Jorge Santos, general coordinator of Udefegua, an NGO which documents crimes against human rights defenders.

Giammattei will be sworn in for a four-year term in January 2020.