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Ex General Leads the Vote in Guatemala

A right-wing retired general promising a crackdown on rampant crime led Guatemala's Sunday presidential election, although he fell short of the votes needed to avoid a run-off in November.

Silver-haired Otto Perez, who promises to send troops into the streets to fight criminal gangs, won 36 per cent support with almost all the votes counted, far short of the more than 50 per cent needed for an outright first-round victory.

Centrist Manuel Baldizon, a wealthy hotel owner and former congressman with a populist message of supporting the elderly and the poor, had 24 per cent of the vote and seemed certain to face Perez in a Nov. 6 run-off.

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