When the Guatemalan election campaign started, Christian comedian Jimmy Morales was the underdog and most people thought that his candidacy was nothing but a joke. But during the presidential election held last Sunday, Morales got the last laugh as he won with a landslide vote.
According to Newsweek, Morales' strong point was probably his stance against corruption. Even though he has no political background and only finished studies in theology, Guatemalan voters thought this was enough for him to lead their country.
Morales also fuelled his campaign by harping on conservative values, including his strong opposition against gay marriage, abortion, and the legalisation of marijuana.
"As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us," Morales said after winning.
He easily beat centre-left rival and former first lady Sandra Torres with 68 percent of the votes, even though she touted his background in entertainment as a weakness during the elections. "Guatemala is not a comedy," she said in her slogan.
In his campaign, Morales focused on the country's flagrant corruption, proudly proclaiming that he is "not corrupt, not a thief." And it worked.
"We were tired of the same faces of people who get rich off our money," said Eduardo Tablas, a maintenance man who voted for Morales. "He knows that if he does something corrupt, all of Guatemala will be demanding that he resigns."
Now that he is president, Morales vowed to be transparent at all times and even welcomes any inquiry by the Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the UN-backed anti-corruption body will have on him and his government.
"Neither the president nor the vice president would be exempt," he stressed.
Now that Morales is Guatemala's new president, many are wondering how he will deal with gang violence and minimise the growing number of US-bound migrants.