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Guatemala comic Jimmy Morales claims victory in presidential poll

A former TV comedian with no political experience declared victory in Guatemala's presidential election. Jimmy Morales pledged to fight corruption - amid outrage over a scandal that saw the previous president arrested.

Morales secured a landslide victory, with all signs pointing to him taking more than 70 percent of votes in the runoff election. Morales was running against Sandra Torres, wife of a former president, who conceded defeat late on Sunday.

The 46-year-old Jimmy Morales has promised to clean up government.

Former President Otto Perez and his former deputy are both in jail,

awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Morales' opponent said she, too, would tackle corruption, but many see her as part of the established political order.

"He is a clean candidate, and presumably he is honest," Rodolfo Mancilla, a doctor, said after he voted in the capital, Guatemala City. "We want new faces."

Morales has outlined his views in a six-page manifesto. His National Convergence Front will have eleven seats in the 158-seat Congress. Some founders of the party were members of the army, which carried out a relentless campaign against anti-government groups and individuals over thirty years from 1960 until 1996. Morales says the party's core is now civilian.

His opponent Sandra Torres earlier said of Morales, "The other candidate represents the past, and the old guard of suspect military men ... We should really ask who is behind the candidate."

jm/gsw (EFE, AFP)

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