A newspaper publisher and the protege of a former military dictator began a duel for the presidency Tuesday after forcing a runoff with a tight first-round race.
It is the second presidential bid for both publisher Jorge Carpio Nicolle and Jorge Serrano Elias, a born-again Christian and one-time adviser to former military ruler Jose Efrain Rios Montt.Rios Montt was barred from Monday's election under the 1986 constitution, which bans former dictators from being president or vice president.
Carpio, 58, said he "cried for joy" when preliminary returns showed him headed for the Jan. 6 runoff.
"We won because of our short, intensive campaign," Serrano said.
With 76 percent of the ballots counted late Monday, Carpio had 25.3 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Serrano, 45, who had led earlier.
Religion may become an issue in the runoff because Carpio is a Roman Catholic while Serrano is a member of the U.S.-based Shaddai Church. While Guatemala is predominantly Catholic, evangelical churchs have many followers.