Guatemala's president-elect wants to rewrite migration deal with US

14 Août, 2019, 08:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Presidential candidate Sandra Torres

Guatemala's president-elect Alejandro Giammattei said in an interview with AFP he would not seek confrontation with President Donald Trump over Central America's migration crisis but would demand respect from his U.S. counterpart.

With preliminary results from over 99 percent of polling stations counted, the electoral tribunal declared Giammattei the victor with more than 58 percent of the vote, ahead of his center-left rival, former first lady Sandra Torres, with 42 percent.

"If he fights corruption numerous country's problems will be solved, because there will be money for investment, health, security and education", university student Christopher Alvarado said.

Threatened with economic sanctions if he said no, Mr Morales reached an accord in late July to make Guatemala a so-called safe third country for migrants, despite the endemic poverty and violence plaguing the Central American nation.

The victor of Guatemala's presidential election, Alejandro Giammattei, talks during an interview with Reuters in Guatemala City, Guatemala, August 11, 2019.

In an interview with Reuters on Sunday before election results came in, Giammattei said the CICIG's future was out of his hands, and that he had already assembled a national commission to deal with corruption.

Giammattei "will not support the continuation of CICIG, which has achieved important advances in that fight in recent years", said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue. "I understand President Trump".

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The new president takes office January 14 and will most immediately face the task of attempting to stem the large flow of migrants headed towards the United States.

He has pledged to attack the grinding poverty that affects some 60 percent of Guatemala's 17.7 population, as well as a murder rate of 4,500 per year, key drivers of illegal migration to the United States.

Recinos said there is space for the government to boost spending and recommended the new administration pursue fiscal reform to boost the tax take of around 10% of GDP in order to increase development.

Also on his agenda is a visit to El Salvador next week for talks with President Nayib Bukele on combating organized criminal gangs and developing a massive Caribbean-Pacific railroad project.

More than 250,000 Guatemalans were detained between October 2018 and July this year for trying to enter the USA illegally, Washington's embassy said. But Giammattei also indicated he wouldn't work to bring back the commission, known as CICIG. Under an agreement signed by the then-Guatemalan interior minister, Enrique Asturias, in Washington earlier this month, migrants in Guatemala must apply for asylum there, and fail to get it, before they can apply for asylum in the US. "That definition doesn't fit us", said Giammattei, a 63-year-old doctor.

The election is taking place "against a backdrop of broad voter disaffection", according to Al Jazeera, as neither of the presidential candidates won a majority in the first round of the general elections held on June 16.

He pledged to confront "de facto powers" who profit from corruption at all levels of Guatemalan society, including within his own political party.

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