Conservative Alejandro Giammattei appeared poised for a decisive victory in Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday, storming into a commanding lead over his center-left rival, former first lady Sandra Torres, preliminary results showed.
With returns from three-fifths of the polling stations counted, Giammattei had secured more than 58% of the vote, while Torres had won just over 41%, according to the tally posted on the website of the country’s electoral tribunal.
The next president is likely to face a major challenge on taking office in January after the country signed an unpopular deal with Washington to act as a buffer against illegal immigration under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.
Threatened with economic sanctions if it said no, the administration of outgoing President Jimmy Morales reached an accord in late July to make Guatemala a so-called safe third country for migrants, despite the endemic poverty and violence plaguing the Central American nation.
Both Giammattei and Torres have criticized the deal. But it is unclear that either will be able to do much to stop it.