There are presidential elections in Guatemala this year, and they’re always fascinating to watch.
- There are LOTS of political parties (I think that I can name 14 different parties), so there are lots of people in the running to be president.
- Here’s the poll results from June showing all of the potential candidates:
- There are two phases of elections, the first round is on September 11th. (I have no idea why they picked that date!) And there’s a runoff election in November for the top two from the first round.
- The current president’s wife, Sandra Torres, decided she wanted to run for president this year, but there’s a law that says that no family members of the current president can run. So she divorced him a few months ago! The electoral committee has denied her name from the ballots for fraud, and the Supreme Court is currently deciding if she can run. CNN has an article about it here. There’s a lot of manifestations going on right now protesting that she’s not on the ballot. We couldn’t drive to Casa Shalom today because they had blocked all the roads out of our town.
- A pastor, Harold Caballeros, has also been denied running because of a law that prohibits a religious minister from running for president. He’s also in the process of appealing the decision because he stepped down from pastoring a church in 2006. It’s surprising because Guatemala’s had a former paster as president in the past, and the current president is also a Mayan priest!
The elections here are always fascinating, but they’re also very serious. Guatemala needs a lot of prayer! There were approximately 50 murders associated with the previous elections in 2007, and fortunately it’s going better this year. Corruption is a huge problem here, and it touches every governmental department and position.
But the biggest problem the new president will face in the coming years is organized crime. This year drug cartels from Mexico have been moving down here in large numbers. We now regularly read about clashes between them and the police in different areas of the country.
Guatemala needs lots of prayer during these elections. We need a good president who will fight the corruption and violence which is threatening the country!