GUATEMALA
Officially: República de Guatemala.
Seat of government: Guatemala.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly, by two-round majority. The legislature (Congreso) is elected in the departamentos or at large, both by party list.
Head of government: Jimmy Morales, president (since 2016).
Congressional parties: Libertad Democrática Renovada; Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza; Todos; Partido Patriota; Frente de Convergencia Nacional – Nación; Encuentro por Guatemala; Compromiso, Renovación, y OrdenPartido Unionista; Union del Cambio Nacional; WinaqUnidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca – Maíz; Convergencia; Visión con Valores; Partido de Avanzada Nacional; Fuerza.
Assessment: Making progress away from military dictatorship; but still maintaining a nationalistic claim on Bileez. Former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-3) for a time maintained de facto control of the state institutions; his Frente Republicano Guatemalteco, whose Alfonso Portillo held the presidency at the time (2000-4), nominated him to succeed Portillo, despite a constitutional ban on coup participants, and the constitutional court accepted this, reversing numerous earlier rulings. But he finished third in the first round of the 2003 presidential election, behind eventual winner Óscar Berger Perdomo of the Gran Alianza Nacional, and Álvaro Colom Caballeros of the UNE. Elections in 2007 to replace Berger went to a runoff as well, with Colom, who led in the first round, defeating Otto Pérez Molina of PP. In 2011, Pérez defeated Manuel Baldizón of LiDeR in a presidential runoff; he took office in early 2012. Pérez resigned amid a corruption scandal in late 2015, succeeded by Alejandro Maldonado. In a 2015 general election, Morales, of FCN-Nación, defeated Sandra Torres of UNE in a runoff.
FH: 3-4, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.07 (79), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2016 March 29.
 

O.T. FORD