Photo: Otto Perez Molina Takes Early Lead in Guatemala Pres Election
Guatemalans apparently voted their sense of national insecurity due to narco traffickers and violent gangs when they went to the polls this weekend to elect a new President.
The ex-general Otto Perez Molina has taken the early lead in Sunday’s election. Perez Molina’s mantra of ‘mano duro’ or a firm hand against crime and criminals, obviously worked for him. If he obtains an outright majority he can avoid a runoff. Only 5% of the votes have been counted thus far.
Many of the nine presidential candidates made crime an issue of their campaigns. Early vote counts show Molina has 37% of the vote with Congressman Manuel Baldizon coming in second. Perez Molina is a former military officer that fought in the country’s 35 year-old civil war. He ran unsuccessfully for office in 2007.
Many in Guatemala feel under siege from the growing power and presence of Mexico narco traffickers, spilling over the border both countries share. In addition many citizens are victims of random violent crime and extortion.