2015 Guatemalan general election

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2015 Guatemalan presidential election

← 2011 6 September 2015 (first round)
25 October 2015 (second round)
2019 →
  President Trump Meets with the President of Guatemala (49235087891) (cropped).jpg Sandra Torres 2019 (croppedb).jpg
Nominee Jimmy Morales Sandra Torres
Home state Guatemala City Petén
Running mate Jafeth Cabrera Mario Leal
States carried 20 2
Popular vote 2,751,058 1,328,342
Percentage 67.44% 32.56%

Eleccion presidencial Guatemala 2015 primera vuelta.png
Results of first round by department:
dark blue for Morales; red for Baldizón;
green for Torres; and light blue for Estrada.

President before election

Alejandro Maldonado


Jimmy Morales

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General elections were held in Guatemala on 6 September 2015 to elect the President and Vice President, all 158 Congress deputies, all 20 deputies to the Central American Parliament, and mayors and councils for all 338 municipalities in the country.

The Renewed Democratic Liberty became the largest party in Congress with 44 seats. Since no presidential candidate received more than 50% of the vote, a run-off took place on 25 October. Jimmy Morales won the contest, taking 67.4% of the vote, in a landslide victory over Sandra Torres.

It was the first presidential election since 1995 in which the runner-up of the previous contest did not then go on to win.


Ahead of the election, the La Linea corruption case involving high-ranking officials of the outgoing administration, including President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti, was made public by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. Baldetti resigned in May and was arrested on fraud charges in August. More than a dozen ministers and deputy ministers as well as a number of government officials also resigned. Less than a week before the election, President Pérez was stripped of his immunity, resigned and was arrested. Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre acts as head of state until a new president is elected and sworn into office. The scandal has further diminished many Guatemalans' trust in the political elite. Some of the participants of mass protests against corruption demanded a postponement of the election due to the crisis and claims of irregularities.[1][2]

Possible Belize referendum[edit]

In May 2015, Belize allowed Guatemala to proceed with a referendum asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to definitively rule on Guatemala's longstanding territorial dispute against Belize, although Belize by its own admission was not ready for such a vote. A previous treaty between the two countries stipulated that any such vote must be held simultaneously. Guatemala was initially expected to hold its referendum on the issue during its second round of presidential elections in October 2015.[3] Belize has yet to announce its vote on the matter.[4]

When Jimmy Morales was running for president, a Guatemalan journalist asked Morales which Guatemalan historical event he thought was the most deplorable. Morales responded, "The most deplorable event – among all the things that have happened in Guatemala, there are certain things that are not spoken about and which I believe we should. Everything that goes contrary to national unity and territorial integrity are things that should hurt us. Something is happening right now, we are about to lose Belize. We have not lost it yet. We still have the possibility of going to the International Court of Justice where we can fight that territory or part of that territory. ... I think that it is worth anything that is natural resources and of benefit to the nation."[3]

Electoral system[edit]

The President of Guatemala is elected using the two-round system. The 158 members of Congress are elected by two methods; 31 members are elected by closed list proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency, with seats allocated using the d'Hondt method. The other 127 seats are elected in 23 multi-member constituencies based on the departments (with the Central District or Guatemala City as a separate constituency) also using the d'Hondt method.[5]

Around 7.5 million people registered for the elections. Members of the armed forces (Air Force, Army, and Navy), people in prison, and Guatemalans living abroad were not allowed to vote.[6] The Tribunal Supremo Electoral (Supreme Electoral Tribunal) officially called for general elections on 2 May 2015.


LIDER party campaign posters

A total of 14 candidates were registered to contest the presidential elections:[7]

In the buildup to the elections the Patriotic Party (PP) and Renewed Democratic Liberty (LIDER) were suspended due to repeated offences. However, all parties were reinstated before elections were called.[9][10]

Presidential candidates[edit]

National Convergence Front
Jimmy Morales Jafeth Cabrera
for President for Vice President
Visita de Estado del Presidente de Guatemala ; Jimmy Morales. (25772034823) (cropped).jpg
Jafeth Cabrera Franco 2016 (cropped).jpg
General Secretary of National Convergence Front
(2013- )
Candidate for Mayor of Mixco
Rector of the University of San Carlos
Secretary of Agrarian Affairs
National Unity of Hope
Sandra Torres Mario Leal
for President for Vice President
Sandra torres (cropped).jpg
Mario Leal (vicepresidenciable).jpg
General Secretary of National Unity of Hope
(2012- )
First Lady of Guatemala
Secretary of Specific Affairs of the Presidency

Opinion polls[edit]

A poll released on 3 September gave Morales 25% of the vote, compared to 22.9% for Manuel Baldizon and 18.4% for Sandra Torres.[11]



The front runners: Morales, Baldizón and Torres, were expected to competitively compete for the position of President. In the first round, Morales gained 24% of the vote, followed by a closely fought battle between Torres and Baldizón, with less than 20,000 votes separating the two. Since no candidate received a 50% majority, the top two candidates participated in the run-off in October. Morales won the run-off contest with 67.4% of the vote to Torres' 32.6%. Morales, a comedic actor, won with the slogan "not corrupt, nor a thief".[12]

CandidateRunning matePartyFirst roundSecond round
Jimmy MoralesJafeth CabreraNational Convergence Front1,152,39423.992,751,05867.44
Sandra TorresMario LealNational Unity of Hope948,80919.761,328,34232.56
Manuel BaldizónEdgar BarquínRenewed Democratic Liberty930,90519.38
Alejandro GiammatteiFernando PaizFuerza313,6286.53
Zury RíosJuan Luis MirónVision with Values286,7305.97
Lizardo SosaMario GarcíaTodos259,6735.41
Mario David GarcíaValentin GramajoPatriotic Party214,5324.47
Roberto González Díaz-DuránRodolfo Neutze AguirreCREOUnionist Party166,9603.48
Mario EstradaRoberto Díaz-DuránNational Change Union163,9743.41
Juan Guillermo GutiérrezManuel Alfredo Marroquín PinedaNational Advancement Party149,9253.12
Miguel Ángel SandovalMario EllintongWinaqURNG–MAIZ101,3472.11
José Ángel LópezPeter LamportEncuentro por Guatemala43,9160.91
Luis Fernando PérezJosé Rodolfo DoughertyInstitutional Republican Party41,5540.87
Aníbal GarcíaRafael MaldonadoMovimiento Nueva República28,3830.59
Valid votes4,802,73091.124,079,40096.15
Invalid/blank votes467,7598.88163,4543.85
Total votes5,270,489100.004,242,854100.00
Registered voters/turnout7,556,87369.747,556,87356.15
Source: TSE


In Congress, Baldizón's LIDER gained 31 seats on their previous election making them the largest party with 45 seats. Torres' UNE retained second position with 32 seats, despite losing 16. Competing in their first election, Todos captured 18 seats. PP suffered the greatest loss, losing 38 seats overall, down to 18. Morales' FCN gained 11 seats.

Party National District Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Renewed Democratic Liberty 860,783 18.88 7 903,644 19.29 38 45 +31
National Unity of Hope 676,080 14.83 5 728,106 15.54 27 32 –16
Todos 445,996 9.78 3 495,129 10.57 15 18 New
Patriotic Party 419,353 9.20 3 501,029 10.70 15 18 –38
National Convergence Front 403,086 8.84 3 338,060 7.22 8 11 +11
Encuentro por Guatemala 289,646 6.35 2 217,612 4.65 5 7
CREOUnionist Party 261,040 5.73 2 269,939 5.76 3 5 –8
National Change Union 244,788 5.37 2 264,437 5.65 5 7 –7
WinaqURNG–MAIZ 198,715 4.36 1 45,731 0.98 0 1
Convergence 175,515 3.85 1 167,363 3.57 2 3 New
Vision with Values 168,707 3.70 1 237,118 5.06 4 5
National Advancement Party 158,309 3.47 1 113,354 2.42 2 3 +1
Fuerza 95,392 2.09 0 92,244 1.97 2 2 New
Institutional Republican Party 58,811 1.29 0 62,763 1.34 0 0 –1
New Republic Movement 41,954 0.92 0 44,443 0.95 0 0 New
Reform Movement 36,693 0.80 0 39,295 0.84 0 0 New
Heart New Nation 23,880 0.52 0 13,992 0.30 0 0 New
URNG–MAIZ 112,123 2.39 1 1
Winaq 29,924 0.64 0 0
My Country 6,452 0.14 0 0 New
CREO 1,375 0.03 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 712,352 612,313
Total 5,271,100 100 31 5,296,446 100 127 158 0
Registered voters/turnout 7,556,873 69.75 7,556,873 70.09
Source: TSE


Following his victory, Morales vowed "I will try with all my heart and strength not to disappoint you."[13] The US-based National Public Radio described this a rightward shift among voters in both the Americas and Europe.[14]


  1. ^ Jo Tuckman (27 August 2015). "Guatemalan president faces growing threat of impeachment amid scandal". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Fernando del Rincón; Rafael Romo (7 September 2015). "Guatemala election: Millions vote, but runoff widely expected". CNN.
  3. ^ a b Trujillo, Renee. "Presidential Candidate for Guatemala Says Belize Can Still Be Fought For" Archived 28 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, LOVE FM, 9 September 2015 (retrieved 28 September 2015)
  4. ^ Ramos, Adele. "Belize and Guatemala to amend ICJ compromis", Amandala, 12 May 2015. (retrieved 14 May 2015)
  5. ^ Electoral system IPU
  6. ^ "Órgano electoral da luz verde a comicios generales". s21.com.gt. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Candidatos Presidenciales 2015 Guatemala". guatemalaelecciones.com. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. ^ Louisa Reynolds (10 June 2015). "In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals". The Tico Times.
  9. ^ Flor de María Ortiz. "2015 electoral season already started" (in Spanish). Guatemala: lahora.com.gt. Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  10. ^ http://www.elperiodico.com.gt/es/20141221/pais/6476/Partidos-suspendidos-son-multados--otra-vez-por-campaña-anticipada.htm
  11. ^ France 24 news report, 6 September 2015
  12. ^ Jimmy Morales Is Elected New President in Guatemala The New York Times, 26 October 2015
  13. ^ Ex-comedian Jimmy Morales in landslide Guatemala election victory Financial Times, 26 October 2015
  14. ^ Voters In Poland, Guatemala And Argentina Surprise Establishment Candidates NPR, 26 October 2015

External links[edit]