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Guatemalans await results of presidential polls marred by low turnout

AFP  |  Guatemala City 

Guatemalans awaited the results on Sunday of an election to choose the central American country's next president, who will be under immense pressure from the United States to implement a controversial migration pact.

Polling stations closed at 6 pm following 11 hours of voting in a run-off election marred by low turnout.

The two candidates -- former first lady Sandra Torres and conservative Alejandro Giammattei -- have avoided committing to strong positions over the US pact, which would allow Washington to send most Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers who passed through Guatemala back to the poor, crime-stricken country.

As they cast their ballots earlier on Sunday, Torres and opinion poll frontrunner Giammattei urged voters to turn out and reiterated their pledges to fight unemployment, improve health care and education, and rid the country of corruption and violence.

The winner will take office in January to replace corruption-tainted Jimmy Morales, who leaves with his popularity at rock bottom. "All we want is for the next president to end crime so that you can go out in public without fear," elevator technician Edgar Chiquito, 43, told AFP in the western indigenous town of Sumpango.

"We want an end to violence," added farmer Marta Subuyuj, also 43. Electoral court president Julio Solorzano urged citizens to avoid unrest if the vote doesn't go their way, saying that preliminary results would be published in real time on the court's official website to provide transparency.

Corruption was the main issue leading up to the first round of elections in June -- which Torres topped -- but that has been superseded by the political scandal over the migration deal with the United States.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 12 2019. 06:25 IST