Elections in Guatemala

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Elections in Guatemala include, on the national level, a head of state the president and a unicameral legislature. Guatemala's president and vice-president are elected on one ballot for a four-year term by the people.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.

The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states.

In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house.


The Congress of the Republic (Congreso de la República) has 158 members, elected for a four-year term, partially in multi-member departmental constituencies and partially by proportional representation both using the D'Hondt method.

Congress of Guatemala legislature

The Congress of the Republic is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of Guatemala. The Guatemalan Congress is made up of 158 deputies who are elected by direct universal suffrage to serve four-year terms. The electoral system is closed party list proportional representation. 31 of the deputies are elected on a nationwide list, whilst the remaining 127 deputies are elected in 22 multi-member constituencies. Each of Guatemalas's 22 departments serves as a district, with the exception of the department of Guatemala containing the capital, which on account of its size is divided into two (distrito central and distrito Guatemala). Departments are allocated seats based on their population size and they are shown in the table below.

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.

The D'Hondt method or the Jefferson method is a highest averages method for allocating seats, and is thus a type of party-list proportional representation. The method described is named in the United States after Thomas Jefferson, who introduced the method for proportional allocation of seats in the United States House of Representatives in 1791, and in Europe after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt, who described it in 1878 for proportional allocation of parliamentary seats to the parties. There are two forms: closed list and an open list.

Guatemala also elects deputies to the supranational Central American Parliament.

Central American Parliament international parliament

The Central American Parliament, also known as PARLACEN, is the political institution and parliamentary body of the Central American Integration System (SICA). Its headquarters are in Guatemala City.

Political culture

Political parties in Guatemala are generally numerous and unstable. No party has won the presidency more than once. In every election period the majority of the parties are small and newly formed.



Position 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Type Presidential (September)
National Congress (September)
Gubernatorial (September)
None Presidential (June)
National Congress (June)
Gubernatorial (June)
President and
vice president
President and vice presidentNone President and vice president
National CongressAll seatsNone All seats
Provinces, cities and municipalitiesAll positionsNone All positions


Position 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Type Presidential (January)
National Congress (January)
Gubernatorial (January)
None Presidential (January)
National Congress (January)
Gubernatorial (January)
President and
vice president
14 JanuaryNone 14 January
National Congress14 JanuaryNone 14 January
Provinces, cities and municipalities15 JanuaryNone 15 January

Last elections

e    d  Summary of the 11 September and 6 November 2011 Guatemalan presidential election result
Candidates — Parties1st round2nd round
Otto Pérez MolinaPatriotic Party (PP)1,611,49336.01%2,300,97953.74%
Manuel BaldizónRenewed Democratic Liberty (LIDER)1,038,28723.20%1,981,00346.26%
Eduardo SugerCommitment, Renovation and Order (CREO)732,84216.38%
Mario EstradaNational Change Union (UCN)383,6438.57%
Harold CaballerosVision with Values (VIVA) & Encounter for Guatemala (EG)275,4756.16%
Rigoberta MenchúBroad Left FrontWinaq,
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG-MAIZ) & New Nation Alternative (ANN)
Juan GutiérrezNational Advancement Party (PAN)123,6482.76%
Patricia de ArzúUnionist Party (PU)97,3812.18%
Alejandro GiammatteiSocial Action Centre (CASA)46,3951.04%
Adela Camacho de TorrebiarteAction of National Development (ADN)19,0380.43%
Valid votes4,474,555100.00%4,281,982100.00%
Blank votes398,96258,202
Invalid votes219,713124,934
Total votes (voter turnout: 69.38% / 60.83%)5,093,2304,465,118
Source: Tribunal Supremo Electoral [1]

Second round [2]

e    d  Summary of the 11 September 2011 Congress of the Republic of Guatemala election results
Parties and alliancesVotes%+/–Seats+/–
Patriotic Party (Partido Patriota, PP)1,171,33726.62%+10.7156+26
National Unity of Hope (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza, UNE)
Grand National Alliance (Gran Alianza Nacional, GANA)
National Change Union (Union del Cambio Nacional, UCN)417,9359.50%+5.4414+10
Renewed Democratic Liberty (Libertad Democrática Renovada, LIDER)390,3198.87%+8.8714+14
Commitment, Renewal and Order (Compromiso, Renovación y Orden, CREO)381,6528.67%+8.6712+12
Vision with Values (Visión con Valores, VIVA)
Encounter for Guatemala (Encuentro por Guatemala, EG)
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity — Broad Left Movement
(Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca — Movimiento Amplio de Izquierda, URNG–MAIZ)
Alternative New Nation (Alternativa Nueva Nación, ANN)
National Advancement Party (Partido de Avanzada Nacional, PAN)137,3903.12%–1.462–2
Guatemalan Republican Front (Frente Republicano Guatemalteco, FRG)120,4552.74%–7.061–14
Unionist Party (Partido Unionista, PU)118,7882.70%–3.401–7
style="text-align:left;vertical-align:top;" Victory (VICTORIA)71,5011.62%+1.621+1
Social Action Centre (Centro de Acción Social, CASA)47,3901.08%–3.81–5
National Development Action (Acción de Desarrollo Nacional, ADN)39,2510.89%+0.89±0
National Convergence Front (Frente de Convergencia Nacional, FCN)23,2720.53%+0.53±0
Valid votes4,400,983100.00158
Blank votes351,659
Invalid votes337,388
Total votes (turnout 69.34%)5,090,030
Source: Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala (TSE)
2 2007: UNE – 48 seats; GANA – 37 seats.
3 2007: only Encounter for Guatemala.
4 2007: URNG-MAIZ and ANN as two separate parties.
5 2007: only URNG-MAIZ.

2007 general election

e    d  Summary of the 9 September and 4 November 2007 Guatemalan presidential election results
Candidates — Parties1st round2nd round
Álvaro ColomNational Unity of Hope (UNE)926,24428.23%1,449,15352.82%
Otto Pérez MolinaPatriotic Party (PP)771,17523.51%1,294,64547.18%
Alejandro GiammatteiGrand National Alliance (GANA)565,27017.23%
Eduardo SugerSocial Action Centre (CASA)244,4487.45%
Luis RabbéGuatemalan Republican Front (FRG)239,2087.29%
Mario EstradaNational Change Union (UCN)103,6033.16%
Rigoberta MenchúEncounter for Guatemala (EG)101,3163.09%
Fritz García GallontUnionist Party (PU)95,7432.92%
Óscar CastañedaNational Advancement Party (PAN)83,8262.56%
Miguel Ángel SandovalGuatemalan National Revolutionary Unity–MAIZE (URNG–MAIZ)70,0802.14%
Manuel Conde OrellanaDemocratic Union (UD)24,9710.76%
Pablo MonsantoNew Nation Alliance (ANN)19,3770.59%
Héctor RosalesAuthentic Integral Development (DIA)18,8190.57%
Vinicio Cerezo BlandónGuatemalan Christian Democracy (DCG)16,529 0.50%
Valid votes (turnout 60.5%/48.3%)3,280,609100.0%2,743,798100.0%
Blank votes132,98350,601
Invalid votes208,260101,214
Total votes3,621,8522,895,613
Source: Tribunal Supremo Electoral
e    d  Summary of the 9 September 2007 Congress of the Republic of Guatemala election results
Parties and alliancesVotes%+/–Seats+/–
National Unity of Hope (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza, UNE)721,98822.81%+4.4%48+16
Grand National Alliance (Gran Alianza Nacional, GANA)522,48016.51%–7.8%137–101
Patriotic Party (Partido Patriota, PP)503,44215.91%+15.9%130+301
Guatemalan Republican Front (Frente Republicano Guatemalteco, FRG)310,0389.80%–9.9%15–28
Encounter for Guatemala (Encuentro por Guatemala, EG)195,1516.17%+6.17%4+4
Unionist Party (Partido Unionista, PU)192,9836.10%+0.7%8+1
Social Action Centre (Centro de Acción Social, CASA)154,7184.89%+4.9%5+5
National Advancement Party (Partido de Avanzada Nacional, PAN)144,9104.58%–6.3%4–13
National Change Union (Union del Cambio Nacional, UCN)128,5934.06%+4.1%4+4
Guatemalan National Revolucionary Unity–MAIZE
(Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca–MAIZ, URNG–MAIZ)
Authentic Integral Development (Desarrollo Integral Auténtico, DIA)45,1421.43%–1.6%–1
Democratic Union (Unión Democrática, UD)44,4881.41%–0.8%1 –1
New National Alliance (Alianza Nueva Nación, ANN)42,7901.35%–3.5%–6
Front for Democracy (Frente por la Democracia, EL FRENTE)28,7980.91%+0.9%±0
Guatemalan Christian Democracy (Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca, DCG)26,1900.83%–2.4%–1
Valid votes (turnout 60.5%)3,165,191100.0158
Blank votes212,615
Invalid votes244,082
Total votes3,621,888
Source: Tribunal Supremo Electoral and Prensa Libre

1 In the 2003 election, the Patriotic Party was part of the Grand National Alliance, which has since become a party.

2003 general election

2003 Presidential election

e    d  Summary of the 9 November and 28 December 2003 Guatemala presidential election results
Candidates — Parties1st round2nd round
Óscar Berger Perdomo - Grand National Alliance 921,23334.31,235,30354.1
Álvaro Colom Caballeros - National Unity of Hope 707,57826.41,046,86845.9
Efraín Ríos Montt - Guatemalan Republican Front 518,32819.3
Leonel López Rodas - National Advancement Party 224,1278.4
Fritz García-Gallont Bischof - Unionist Party 80,9433.0
Rodrigo Asturias - Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity 69,2972.6
Eduardo Suger - Authentic Integral Development 59,7742.2
Jacobo Arbenz Vilanova - Guatemalan Christian Democracy 42,1861.6
José Angel Lee - Social Participative Democracy 37,5051.4
Fransisco Arredondo Mendoza - National Union 11,9790.4
Manuel Conde Orellana - Social and Political Movement National Change 10,8290.4
Total (turnout 45.8 %)2,937,169100.02,282,171100.0
Valid votes2,683,7792,190,873
Blank votes114,00424,192
Source: Tribunal Supremo Electoral

2003 Parliamentary election

e    d  Summary of the 9 November 2003 Congress of the Republic of Guatemala election results
Parties and alliancesVotes%Seats
Grand National Alliance (Gran Alianza Nacional) 620,12124.347
Guatemalan Republican Front (Frente Republicano Guatemalteco)502,47019.743
National Unity of Hope (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza)457,30818.432
National Advancement Party (Partido de Avanzada Nacional)278,39310.917
Unionist Party (Partido Unionista)138,7135.47
New National Alliance (Alianza Nueva Nación)123,8534.96
Guatemalan National Revolucionary Unity (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca)107,2764.22
Guatemalan Christian Democracy (Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca)82,3243.21
Authentic Integral Development (Desarrollo Integral Auténtico)75,2953.01
Democratic Union (Unión Democrática)55,7932.22
Social Participative Democracy (Democracia Social Participativa)28,4251.1-
Transparency (Transparencia)27,7401.1-
Total (turnout 57.8 %)2,552,374100.0158
Invalid and blank votes446,491
Registered voters5,073,282
Source: Supreme Electoral Tribunal

Past elections

See also

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  1. Tribunal Supremo Electoral (27-09-2011) Acuerdo No. 1319-2011 - Resultados oficiales. Consulted: 2011-09-29.
  2. Tribunal Supremo Electoral. (01/12/2011) Segunda Elección Presidencial. Resultados preliminares. Consulted: 2011-12-01