The results for Guatemala’s presidential and congressional elections are in. With nearly 99% of votes counted, comic actor Jimmy Morales leads the presidential race by 5 points over closest rival Sandra Torres, who herself has edged out former front runner Manuel Baldizon. In the Congress the major parties still hold between them a majority of seats but newer parties have gained some ground. It is encouraging news for local alternative parties which have allied under the Belize Unity Alliance (BUA). BUA representative Charles Leslie Jr. spoke to the press about what the Guatemalan result means for a similar movement here in Belize.
Charles Leslie Jr.: We have definitely been paying attention and I would like to commend the people of Guatemala, especially the students, young people who maintain and sustain a three month long demonstration against their corrupt leaders. I would like to encourage the young people in Belize that they don’t need to get on the streets and get violent to change the leadership that is basically sending our country down the wrong path. You can just get up, show your presence and be physically there. That’s all we need in this country to create change.
Morales’ platform of change and anti-corruption appeals to the BUA, whose founding member Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has been campaigning on anti-corruption and an anti-ICJ platform. Morales faces a run-off with either Torres or Baldizon next month and needs a simple majority to succeed Otto Perez Molina, who has been told today he will face trial on charges of criminal association, taking bribes and customs fraud in the “La Linea” scandal.