Former army general Otto Perez Molina has won the presidential runoff in Guatemala, electoral officials said.
Perez will become the first former military figure to rule since the civil war ended in the 1990s. The election tribunal said Perez won 55 percent of the vote, while his rival, Manuel Baldizon, garnered 45 percent. Guatemala's electoral tribunal declared Perez the winner late Sunday, and his supporters began celebrating in the streets.
From the first day on, Guatemalans are going to see they've got a president committed to defending the lives and safety of all Guatemalans, Perez said, vowing to devote at least 60 percent of his time on security. Perez, running for the right-wing Patriotic Party, has pledged to employ 10,000 new police and 2,500 more soldiers as part of his tough stance on crime.
Guatemala's murder rate is about eight times that of the United States and many of the country's 14.7 million people want a tougher stance on crime.
Perez was a commander in some of the most violent areas and there have been allegations that troops under his command committed abuses. He also headed the military intelligence unit accused of engineering assassinations of political rivals.
Democracy was restored in Guatemala in 1996, after a 36-year conflict. Perez narrowly lost four years ago to the incumbent president, Alvaro Colom, who is constitutionally limited to one term.