Voting has started in Guatamala’s presidential election with 10 candidates in the race.
Former military general Otto Perez Molina has topped recent opinion polls, possibly because he is seen as the man mostly likely to reduce crime. The country has one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere.
Outgoing President Alvaro Colom is deemed by voters to have failed to tackle the crime epidemic during his term after his victory over Perez in 2007.
The only left-wing candidate in the field is Nobel Peace Prize lauereate and Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchu who is reported as having as little as 2 per cent support.
If Perez is elected, he will be the first former military leader to become president since democracy was restored in 1986 following the dictatorships of the 70’s and 80’s.
He needs more than 50 per cent of the vote to avoid a November run-off.