Guatemalans have long been accustomed to an unpredictable political landscape.
Voters choose between 19 candidates for a four-year term, which in January 2020 will likely be top voters. More than 8.1 million citizens of the Central American nation will also be eligible to elect vice president, congressional representative and mayor.
The Guatemalans voted in favor of a new president on Sunday following an electoral process that led to general disillusionment and mistrust. Tens of thousands fled poverty and gang violence to seek a new life in the United States.
An estimated 1 percent of Guatemala's approximately 1
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The top five presidential candidates are: the former First Lady Sandra Torres of the National Unity and Hope Party, which is expected first, but without sufficient votes, will win in the first round; former prison director and four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla; Businessman Roberto Arzu; Lawyer and journalist Edmond Auguste Mulet Lesieur; and Thelma Cabrera, the only indigenous candidate.
However, the election campaign season was most clearly marked by a chaotic flood of court judgments, gimmicks, illegal party exchanges and allegations of misconduct that torpedoed the runs of two of the three fronts-runners, including Attorney General Thelma Aldana.
Aldana gained international prominence for conducting crusades against corruption along with a United Nations anti-graft commission operating in Guatemala, claiming that she had no outstanding accounts while in public prosecutor's office.
The current elections were the first time that Guatemalans were able to hand in ballots from abroad: at least 60,000 were in Los Angeles, New, with voting rights in York, Maryland and Washington, DC, all home to numerous Guatemalan emigrants.
Unemployment, violence, corruption, rising cost of living and the country's sluggish state of highways is of paramount importance to the country's electorate.
Three of the last four elected presidents were arrested after the presidency for corruption. Graft allegations were also directed against current President Jimmy Morales and his inner circle, although he is protected from persecution for his immunity in office.
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN THE FOX NEWS APP 19659003] Marco Rene Cuellar, who was the first to vote at the Mixed Rural School in the Santa Catarina Pinula community, hoped for the winner's goodwill, because the country needed change.
"There is a conviction that instead of In these four years of government we have taken a step back," said the 39-year-old, adding that the candidates had little to offer. "We got lost as a country, but we should not lose faith in the democratic process that we have."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.