Ex-general is winner in Guatemalan elections

A retired general promising to crack down on crime has won Guatemala’s presidential runoff election.

Otto Pérez Molina won Sunday’s election with 55 percent of the votes with almost all votes counted, defeating businessman Manuel Baldizon.

Pérez, of the right-wing Patriotic Party, won more votes than Baldizon of the Democratic Freedom Rival Party in the September election, but not the required majority to avoid a runoff.

Pérez will take office in mid-January, replacing current President Alvaro Colom. Pérez will be the first military man to lead the country since its return to democracy in 1986.

The former military general commanded troops during Guatemala’s civil war, which lasted from 1960 through 1996. More than 200,000 people disappeared or were killed during that time. Pérez has denied that there were massacres or genocide during that time.

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