A comedian who has never held office won the Guatemalan presidency in a landslide

A fresh face in politics.
A fresh face in politics.
Image: Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez
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Former comedian Jimmy Morales swept the vote in the second round of the Guatemalan presidential elections, riding a wave of disillusionment with a corrupt government.

Morales, who has never held political office, won against former first lady Sandra Torres, taking nearly 70% of the vote.

“As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us,” he said of his victory. Guatemala has been embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, which last month led to the resignation and arrest of former president Otto Perez. The country is riddled with gang violence, which sends thousands of people fleeing to the United States.

“I have been asked if we have the capacity to govern, and we have been emphatic in saying that alone — no — but with the blessing of God, and the support of the people, we are sure that yes, we can. Because Guatemala has made a choice that it wants a change,” Morales said.

Morales attempted politics once before with an unsuccessful run for mayor of Mixco, a town near Guatemala City. But he is better known for his TV show Moralejas, in which he stars with his brother. The show, which has featured blackface, is known for its low-brow comedy. In one bit, according to the Associated Press, Morales joked about eating condoms. When his character complains about his wife expecting a 19th child, his brother suggests using condoms:

“That garbage doesn’t work,” Jimmy answers. “I’ve been taking one of them every night for the past three months and my wife got pregnant two months ago.”