Cultura

Former comedian claims victory in Guatemala presidential election

By Alexandra Alper and Enrique Pretel

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Former TV comedian Jimmy Morales, who has no experience in government, claimed victory in Guatemala's presidential election on Sunday after a corruption scandal toppled the last president and stoked outrage with the political establishment.

"As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us. God bless and thank you," Morales said as results showed him on course for a landslide victory.

A political outsider promising clean government, Morales had 72.4 percent of the vote with returns in from 70 percent of polling stations, well ahead of former first lady Sandra Torres, who had around 27.6 percent.

The headquarters of Morales' National Convergence Front (FCN) party erupted in a celebration with live music and dozens of early revellers, while the nerve centre of Torres party remained dark as a throng of reporters waited.

With tales of his humble origins and jokes from a 14-year stint on a sketch comedy show, the 46-year-old Morales connected with voters fed up with corruption that sparked nationwide protests and finally toppled Otto Perez from power last month.

(With reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Kieran Murray and Christian Plumb)

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