June 17, 2019 / 4:03 AM / 3 months ago

Guatemala's center-left candidate Torres takes early lead in election

Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE) arrives to cast her vote at a polling station during the first round of the presidential election in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Early results from Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday showed center-left candidate Sandra Torres leading the race from her nearest conservative rival Alejandro Giammattei by more than seven percentage points.

With returns from 20% of polling stations counted, the preliminary results from the electoral tribunal gave Torres, a former first lady of Guatemala, 23.33% of the vote, while Giammattei was in second place on 15.70%.

To win outright in the first round, a candidate must secure more than 50% of the vote. Nineteen candidates are taking part, meaning the election is very likely to be decided in a second-round run-off between the top two contenders on Aug. 11.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Sofia Menchu; Writing by David Graham; Editing by Daniel Flynn

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