Updated at 8 p.m., Sunday:
Comedian Jimmy Morales declared victory in Guatemala’s presidential runoff election Sunday as partial results showed him on track for a landslide after a race upended by a massive corruption scandal.
“With this election you have made me president. I received a mandate, and that mandate is to fight the corruption that has consumed us,” said Morales, who had more than 70 percent of the vote with two-thirds of polling stations reporting.
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GUATEMALA CITY – Comedian Jimmy Morales jumped to a massive lead in Guatemala’s presidential race as counting got under way Sunday, after a campaign upended by a corruption scandal that felled the outgoing president.
Morales, a comic actor and TV personality with no political experience, had 75 percent of the vote to 25 percent for former first lady Sandra Torres, with just over 40 percent of polling stations reporting, according to official results.
The campaign was rocked by President Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation and arrest on corruption charges on Sept. 3, three days before the first-round vote.
Pérez Molina, who is in jail awaiting trial, is accused of masterminding a corrupt network of politicians and customs officials that took bribes from businesses in exchange for illegal discounts on import duties.
Prosecutors and United Nations investigators say the network collected $3.8 million in bribes between May 2014 and April 2015 — including $800,000 each to Pérez Molina and jailed ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti.
Morales, 46, is famous for playing a country bumpkin cowboy who nearly becomes president in the 2007 film “A President in a Sombrero.”
He has ridden a wave of outrage with politics as usual in the impoverished Central American country, which is torn by gang violence and still recovering from a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.
He began the race with just 0.5 percent support in April.