Two rightist candidates will contend for the Guatemalan presidency in November runoff election
[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for September 12, based on an Agence France Presse dispatch. See original here.]
The president of the Salvadoran legislature, leftist Sigfrido Reyes, on Monday denied that the rightist win in Sunday’s elections in Guatemala signals a general turn to the right in Central America.
“Guatemala has taken a step within its democratic development,” said Reyes, who led a mission from the Salvadoran legislature to observe the elections in Guatemala. Two rightists, retired General Otto Pérez and businessman Manuel Baldizón, will compete for the presidency of Guatemala in a runoff in November, as indicated by a count of 95 percent of the polls in the Sunday election.
Reyes, leader of the ruling Frente Farabundo Martí (FMLN) of El Salvador, denied that the results signal “the return to power of the right” in Central America and declared that the case of Guatemala is “atypical.” In Guatemala, “the party institutions are young, some of them weak, in other cases they tend to be short-lived. This last element is very characteristic of the Guatemalan political tradition, so each election is a surprise,” he stressed. The legislator denied a general return to power of the right on the isthmus, affirming that in the other Central American countries “there are established parties (on the left), with histories and with very well defined ideologies.”
Three leftists won presidencies in Central America between 2007 and 2009, an unprecedented occurrence: Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua (Sandinista), Álvaro Colom in Guatemala (Social Democrat) and Mauricio Funes in El Salvador (FMLN). Honduras and Panama have rightist governments, while that of Costa Rica is nominally social democrat but is considered on the right because of its neoliberal policies.