CONSERVATIVE Alejandro Giammattei made it fourth time lucky in Guatamela's presidential runoff on Sunday when mis-givings about his opponent among urban voters outweigh her support in the Central American nation's poor Mayan highlands.

Alejandro Giammattei will face a testy relationship with US President Donald Trump, who last month strongarmed the outgoing government into singing an agreement that will turn Guatemala onto a buffer-zone for US-bound migrants.

Giammattei and his centre-left rival, former first lady Sandra Torres, both criticised the deal, but Trump's threats of economic sanctions are unlikely to leave either of them much room to manoeuvre if the next administration does not honor it.

Potentially complicating such decisions, is the fact, that in the recent elections neither candidate seemed hugely popular.

Torres, 63, had high negative ratings in the densely populated urban areas, in part because of her connections to an investigation being conducted into alleged illicit electoral financing in a previous campaign.

Her base was in the rural areas such as the highlands where she is remembered for social programs during her former husband's administration.

Turnout expected was very low and the winner is unlikely to command an easy and smooth going in to the future.

Alejandro Giammattei, a former prisons director who himself spent a few months behind bars, got barely 14 percent of the vote in the first round with a tough-on-crime message, and his Vamos party won just a smattering of seats in Congress.

Giammattei prison time was linked to an investigation into extrajudicial killings, but he was later cleared.

''There's was lot of apathy, mistrust and disinterest among the population,'' said Jose Carlos Sanabria, a political analyst at ASIES think-tank in Guatemala City.

Before the final outcome and results, it was hard to anticipate a winner.'' 


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