Retired general Otto Perez has won Guatemala’s presidential election with an estimated 54% of the vote. He is the first military figure to take power since democracy returned to the country in the mid-80’s.
Perez won support by promising a tough crackdown on the crime blight that many see as having erupted under leftist President Alvaro Colom. Observers see the victory as a sign of a clear lurch to the right for Guatemala, with rival candidate Manuel Baldizon having promised a more centrist approach.
The murder rate in Guatemala is extremely high, around seven times that of the US, and concern about crime dominated the election. But some human rights groups have protested that Perez could crack down too hard, and there have also been allegations – which Perez denies completely – that he was involved in some of the more notorious policies of the former military government.