Guatemala’s Presidential Runoff: What Next for Rule of Law and US Relations?

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On June 16, after months of intense campaigning and political controversies that saw two front-running prospective candidates disqualified from the ballot, Guatemalans voted for their next President and Vice President, all 160 seats in Congress, and 340 mayors. Of the 19 candidates for President, Sandra Torres of the National Unity of Hope (UNE) party and Alejandro Giammattei of the Let’s Go (VAMOS) party advanced to a second round runoff on August 11.

Guatemala’s election occurs at a tense and turbulent time. Allegations of irregularities led the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to order an ongoing review of the electoral results, though the OAS has dismissed the possibility of widespread fraud. Outgoing president Jimmy Morales is deeply unpopular and perhaps best known for waging war on the UN’s Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which is set to close its doors in September. And Guatemala finds itself the focus of the Trump Administration as a leading source of undocumented migrants as well as a potential “safe third country” for asylum seekers from elsewhere in the Northern Triangle.

Who is likely to win the Guatemalan presidential election, and what can Guatemalans expect of the victor? Can CICIG be saved, and what does the future hold for rule of law, citizen security, and the investment climate in Guatemala?  How might the relationship with the United States evolve in the months and years ahead?

To answer these questions, the Inter-American Dialogue is proud to host “Guatemala’s Presidential Runoff: What Next for Rule of Law and US Relations?”

Follow this event on Twitter at #GuateRunoff and @The_Dialogue.


Michael Shifter 

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)


Sadaf Khan 

Staff Director, U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee 

Martín Rodríguez Pellecer 

CEO and Director, Nómada (@revolufashion)

Brittany Benowitz

Chief Counsel, Center for Human Rights, American Bar Association 

Hugo Maul

Director General, Guatemala School of Government 


Michael Camilleri

Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@camillerimj)