Alejandro Giammattei elected president of Guatemala

Presidential candidate Sandra Torres

Presidential candidate Sandra Torres

Speaking to Reuters shortly before being declared victor, the conservative Giammattei said he wanted to see what could be done to improve the deal that outgoing President Jimmy Morales agreed to in order to stem US -bound migration from Central America.

Many Guatemalans are fed up with the political class after investigations by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations -backed anti-corruption body, led to the arrest of then-President Otto Perez in 2015, and then threatened to unseat his successor Morales, a former TV comedian.

"It will be an vast honor to be president of this country that I love so much", said Giammattei.

The country's general elections were held June 16, but no candidate won the necessary votes to assume the post after the first round.

Neither candidate arrives with a glowing reputation.

Influential businessman Dionisio Gutierrez recently described her as "a questionable politician with a history that should worry any citizen".

Giammattei came second with 14 percent.

Investigative website Nomada branded him as "impulsive... despotic, tyrannical... capricious, vindictive", among other undesirable traits.

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei headed for an easy victory in Sunday's presidential runoff election, garnering favor Guatemalan voters' favor with his get-tough approach on crime and socially conservative values.

The 63-year-old spent several months in prison in 2008, when he was director of the country's prison system, after some prisoners were killed in a raid on his watch.

"The next president faces a lose-lose situation when it comes to managing the deal with the United States", she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Giammattei on Monday, saying in a statement the United States looked forward to working with Guatemala on "the underlying conditions driving irregular migration", without giving more details. In a poll by Prodatos for the Prensa Libre newspaper, 82% of respondents opposed the deal.

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Remittances from Guatemalans in the United States are a crucial part of the economy, reaching a record $9.3 billion a year ago.

According to the World Bank, remittances account for 12 percent of the country's GDP. All three are under heavy pressure from the Trump administration to stem the flow of migrants heading to the United States.

Taking over a country also struggling with a 60% poverty rate, Giammattei has promised to erect an "investment wall" on the border with Mexico to curb migration.

The agreement was reached last month despite Guatemala's constitutional court having earlier granted an injunction blocking Mr Morales from signing the deal.

Around half the killings are blamed d on drug trafficking and extortion operations carried out by powerful gangs.

"Whichever of the two wins, they should focus on combatting corruption, because this administration (of current President Jimmy Morales) has been robbing us", he said.

Morales, barred by Guatemalan law from seeking a second term, urged his replacement to reduce undocumented migration, improve education and tackle chronic malnutrition in the under-fives, which affects 46% of infants.

Guatemalans aren't subject to Trump's proposed migrant measures, but given that poverty in some indigenous areas reaches 80%, many embark on the journey in search of the "American dream" despite the dangers. At least 1% of Guatemala's population of some 16 million has left the country this year.

And in June, a woman and three children died from heat and dehydration in Texas.

"The person who wins will have to lead a country that is viewed as a nation losing ground in the battle against corruption, because the mandate of the anti-corruption commission wasn't renewed", said Ricardo Barreno, a political science professor at the Central American Institute of Political Studies.

More than 250,000 Guatemalans were detained between October 2018 and July this year for trying to enter the United States illegally, Washington's embassy said.

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