Politics in Guatemala is no laughing matter, yet Sunday’s presidential runoff is set to see comedian-turned-politician Jimmy Morales go head to head against former first lady Sandra Torres. Corruption scandals that saw previous President Otto Perez Molina taken into police custody last month have prompted Guatemalans to throw their support behind Morales, who had never previously been involved in politics and is not considered to be part of what the public now sees as a corrupt political class, according to a Reuters report Thursday.
Morales won the first round of voting last month but failed to get the required 50 percent of all votes cast to make it into office. However, the initial vote did indicate that Morales, who spent 14 years performing on one of Guatemala’s favorite TV shows, had a commanding lead that he is expected to turn into a win come Sunday.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 21, 2015
Morales currently has a 30-point advantage over Torres, according to a voter survey cited by Yahoo News. The poll gave Morales, a centrist with conservative leanings, 58.5 percent support, ahead of Torres, a center-left candidate, with 27.6 percent.
Despite the commanding lead, some analysts claimed Torres' political experience and having the support one of the country's main parties will bring her closer to Morales come Sunday. The latest survey was based on 1,201 interviews conducted Oct. 9-14 with a margin of error of 2.8 percent, noted the Yahoo report.
Just days before the first round of voting last month, Otto Perez Molina resigned the presidency after Congress stripped him of his presidential immunity and Guatemala's leading lawmaker accused him of being involved in a multimillion-dollar customs fraud.
By the time Perez quit, a stream of investigations by a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body working with the attorney general in Guatemala had gutted his cabinet and arrested his former vice president over the alleged corruption.