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LAWYER FAVORED IN RUNOFF FOR GUATEMALAN PRESIDENCY

A populist lawyer backed by a former military dictator is the heavy favorite to win the second round of Guatemala's presidential election today.

Alfonso Portillo has capitalized on poor- and middle-class frustrations with the current government's austere privatization policies and the increase in crime since the government and leftist guerrillas signed a treaty in 1996, ending a 36-year civil war.

Portillo, of the Guatemalan Republican Front, fell just shy of the majority he needed to win the first round of the country's first postwar elections on Nov. 7, forcing today's runoff vote.

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