THE Bernardo Arevalo, the candidate who caused a surprise when he made it to the second round of Guatemala’s presidential election in June has a wide lead after voting took place yesterday, garnering 59.26% of the vote with more than 71% of ballots counted, according to the national electoral commission, the supreme electoral court (TSE).

His opponent, the former first lady Sandra Torresgathers 36.06% of the votes, according to the same source.

The process unfolded without any “significant” problems, the TSE said, pointing out – without giving a specific figure – that participation is expected to reach a “historic” level.

The approx 3,500 polling stations were closed at 18:00 yesterday (local time; at 03:00 Greek time).

The country’s next president will take office on January 14, 2024.

Mr. Arevalo, who analysts say promises to fight endemic corruption, has apparently capitalized on the electorate’s hope for change, especially young people, who make up 16 percent of the 9.4 million registered voters.