At least one person was killed in a violent altercation between two of Guatemala’s political parties Saturday, the day before the country’s general elections, according to Spanish-language media outlet NTN24 based in Bogota, Colombia. More than two dozen people were reportedly arrested in connection to the clash.
The violence in the Guatemalan municipality of Santa Barbara, Suchitepequez, flared between supporters of the National Unity of Hope party and the Renewed Democratic Liberty party, each of which have candidates in Sunday’s election, NTN24 reported. Guatemalan voters will determine the country’s next president and vice president, as well as the members of its national congress.
The arrested people reportedly range in age from 18 to 58. Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
Both parties involved in the clash are members of Guatemala’s political opposition, although Manuel Baldizon, the Renewed Democratic Liberty party’s leader and presidential candidate, is leading many polls in advance of the vote Sunday. Baldizon was the runner-up in the country’s last presidential election in 2011.
Allegations of corruption have rocked Guatemala’s government in recent months, with the ruling Patriot Party at the epicenter of the political fallout. A United Nations report released in July found that 25 percent of the money used to finance the country’s political campaigns came from criminal elements, including drug syndicates, the Associated Press reported.
Violence has marred the run-up to the general elections. Two members of the Renewed Democratic Liberty party were shot in separate attacks last month, Agence France-Presse reported. Baldizon blamed the shootings on his business and political rivals.
Guatemala’s President Otto Perez resigned from office this week amid widespread protests related to allegations that he and his political allies accepted bribes from importers that sought to avoid taxes on their goods, Reuters reported.
Perez has denied any wrongdoing. Alejandro Maldonado, Guatemala’s former vice president, was named Perez’s replacement until elections could be held. Several members of Baldizon’s party have also been accused of corruption.