Monday, September 12, 2011

Surprising Results in Guatemala?

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has preliminary numbers in Guatemala and it's all but certain that front runner Otto Perez of the Patriotic Party will advance to a runoff against Manuel Baldizon of LIDER on November 6.

Here are the results as reported as the TSE's website.

Perez leads with 36% and Baldizon follows with 23%. Suger will likely come in third with 16%. There's no surprise in the order of the top three finishers. However, Perez' support seems a little low given where recent polls had his level of support.

Some other thoughts:

While several problems with the vote came across Twitter yesterday, local electoral authorities and OAS representatives claim that the overall vote went rather smoothly.

Greg argues that the Guatemalan left was routed yesterday. That's a tough one to assess so far. The Frente Amplio never had a shot at winning the presidency and the early returns actually give Rigoberta Menchu 3.18% of the vote which is quite good compared to what I was expecting (3.09% in 2007). She had been polling consistently below 2%, sometimes even below 1%. On the other hand, while the Frente Amplio considers themselves the Guatemalan left, you'll also find leftist candidates and supporters in the coalitions for UNE-GANA and Viva-EG as well as Baldizon's LIDER. For the Frente Amplio, I'll wait until congressional seats and mayors are determined before characterizing its performance as a failure.

On the other hand, if the results hold up, Perez is yesterday's big loser. He and the PP must have thought that they had a reasonable opportunity to win a first round knockout or, if not, to at least come close. Instead, he captured a little more than one-third of the national vote. However, if his support surpasses 40% when the final tally is in, I reserve the right to change my mind. But, then again, 40-42% is still disappointing.

We might have an idea later today, if not tomorrow, as to the composition of the 158-member congress. However, it doesn't look like any single party will have a majority. 


  1. Fair enough, though saying Menchu did well because she got 3% rather than 2% seems like a stretch...

  2. I was trying to be positive. That is 50% more than I expected.