No joke: Guatemalan comedian wins presidency in landslide

Jimmy Morales (C), presidential candidate for the National Convergence Front party (FCN), gestures while addressing the media next to his wife Gilda Marroquin (R) after casting his vote at a polling station in Guatemala City. (Reuters)

Former TV comedian Jimmy Morales, who has no experience in government, won Guatemala’s presidential election in a landslide on Sunday after a corruption scandal toppled the last president and stoked outrage with the political establishment.

The headquarters of Morales’ National Convergence Front (FCN) party erupted in a celebration with live music and dozens of early revelers.

A political outsider promising clean government, Morales had 72.4 percent of the vote with returns in from 70 percent of polling stations, well ahead of former first lady Sandra Torres, who had around 27.6 percent.

Well before the full tally was announced, Morales claimed victory and Torres conceded defeat.

“As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us. God bless and thank you,” Morales said as results showed him on course for a massive victory.

With tales of his humble origins and jokes from a 14-year stint on a sketch comedy show, the 46-year-old Morales connected with voters fed up with corruption that sparked nationwide protests and finally toppled Otto Perez from the presidency last month.

“We are tired of the same faces. Jimmy Morales doesn’t really convince me, I was not even going to vote. But he is the only option,” said Ana Fuentes, 36, a street seller.

Morales has faced criticism over fanciful policy ideas, like promising to hand out smartphones to kids or tagging teachers with GPS devices to make sure they show up for class.

His manifesto runs to just six pages, giving few clues as to how he might govern, and his FCN party will have just 11 out of 158 seats in the next Congress.

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Last Update: Monday, 26 October 2015 KSA 08:12 - GMT 05:12
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