Guatemala New President: 63-year-old Alejandro Giammattei announced as winner
Electoral officials in Guatemala have ratified Sunday's presidential vote, giving victory to Alejandro Giammattei -- a 63-year-old surgeon who opposes abortion and promises to bring back the death penalty. Franc Contreras reports.
Conservative politician Alejandro Giammattei made three failed attempts at winning the Presidency of Central America's most populous nation-- Guatemala. His forth-attempt resulted in a victory, which he says gives him a lump in his throat.
ALEJANDRO GIAMMATTEI PRESIDENT-ELECT OF GUATEMALA "I want to tell all Guatemalans, without exception, that in me, they will find a man who is at their service. You will not find a president who is distant from the people. You will find a president who is close to the people -- a president who knows what to do, which is to rebuild this country."
Just a few hours after the polls closed, electoral officials ratified Giammattei's landslide win. He beat former First Lady Sandra Torres by more than 15 percent of the vote. The speed at which the votes were counted surprised many seasoned observers.
The main issue in this election – and one that will likely remain on many people's minds for some time to come – is official corruption. For many Guatemalans, out-going President Jimmy Morales personifies the problem.
RENZO ROSAL POLITICAL ANALYST "Corruption has existed here for a long time, of course. But we were never able to find the common thread to help us understand how much corruption costs this nation. We could not see the negative implications in costs for things like health care, education, infrastructure, job creation. But in recent years, we began to make the connection."
Besides endemic corruption, Guatemala's next President will inevitably confront the root causes of mass migration, which has forced tens of thousands of people to seek a better life in the United States.
Migrants from rural areas often site a severe lack of opportunities and wide-spread poverty, especially among the nation's indigenous people, who make up 40 percent of the population.
Alejandro Giammattei will face other pressing issues, including pressure from the Trump Administration to pass the controversial Safe Third Country agreement.
It would force asylum seekers heading to the United States to register and remain in this Central American nation.
FRANC CONTRERAS GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA "Following his electoral victory, Guatemala's president-elect says he'll take a day off. Then get right to the work of unifying what he calls a divided nation facing many deep problems. Franc Contreras, CGTN, Guatemala City."