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Reelection in Guatemala?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Not many Guatemalans seem excited over last month’s proposal by president Otto Perez Molina to start a debate over extending the term of the country’s chief executive to six years, and allowing immediate re election.

Several political parties would support the change in principle, on the grounds that a longer term of office could lead to greater efficiency.
On the other hand, no party has made the issue part of its agenda.

Meanwhile, various business leaders and senior politicians, including several former presidents, consider that this not the right time to start such a discussion.

A president can only serve a single four-year term, according to the 1985 Constitution.

As far as Perez personally is concerned, he would be unlikely to stay in power, even if the rules were changed.

The level of popularity of the retired general has fallen 20% over the last year, according to a May survey by CID Gallup.

Perez has managed badly, according to 48% of respondents, while 70% of respondents think the country is going down the wrong path.

Chronic violence, a high cost of living and high unemployment are among the main concerns of a country, half of whose people live below the poverty line.

The business community for its part expressed concern that opportunities were delayed for increased trade with the European Union, as a result of the government taking excessive time to negotiate a bilateral accord.

On the positive side, the government last month announced the inauguration of Central America’s largest solar-energy plant, along with progress on two major projects: a commuter train for Guatemala City, and a 600–kilometer oil-gas pipeline between Guatemala and Mexico.