Novice Jimmy Morales leads Guatemala's presidential election, after a tumultuous campaign which saw the country's president jailed over a corruption scandal. 40% of the Guatemalan population is thought to be evangelical.
Comedian Jimmy Morales, won the presidential elections this Sunday in Guatemala, although he will need to fight on a second round, against a candidate to be determined, just days after President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was jailed in connection with a customs fraud scandal.
With about 70% of the votes counted, actor and comedian, Jimmy Morales had 26,6% of the ballots, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala. The second position was fought by the conservative businessman and lawyer, Manuel Baldizon (17,6%) and the former first lady Sandra Torres (17,1%).
Because no one topped 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will face off on Oct. 25.
The analysts believes Morales’ victory confirms people´s necessity of looking for someone outside the system, now that traditional political class has become very corrupted.
“Jimmy (Morales) was the only candidate outside the system, who gave a message of ‘not being a corrupt, not being a thief’, and people need that”, said to AFP the political analyst Sandino Asturias.
"The people are tired of more of the same, this is reflected in the results," Morales told reporters after learning of his lead. The winner of the elections, will have to face the challenge of giving back the hope to those Guatemalans stressed by a poverty rate of 54% and the violence of the drug dealers and his gangs, in a country with 39 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
“I AM A MAN OF FAITH”
Jimmy Morales defines himself as a man of faith. “His faith is based on a tripod: God, roots and work”, as we read in his presidential campaign´s website.
“Do not ask: why am I in politics? but ask yourself: why are you not in politics?”, exhorts Morales, defending his lack of experience. He said he believes decency, hard work and good values are the solution for the development of the country.
In his speeches there are many references to the words of Jesus, “the Master of the masters”, as he defines Christ in his promotional videos.
Morales was raised in a Baptist family. Her mother became a widow when he was 3 years old. Besides his degree in Business Administration, he also studied theology in a Baptist seminary.
EVANGELICAL CHURCH AND POLTICS
40% of the Guatemalan population is thought to be evangelical, and it is common to see an approach between politicians and the Protestant community. The Guatemalan Evangelical Alliance organised a prayer day for the elections.
Just a few days before the elections, the Christian Presidential Forum took place, a meeting where the candidates expressed their faith convictions: “I was born and raised in the Baptist church, I have participated in church throughout my whole life. I have a lot of respect for all tyoe of faiths”, Morales said at the Forum.