Álvaro Arzú

Álvaro Enrique Arzú Irigoyen ( born March 14, 1946 in Guatemala City ) is a Guatemalan politician. He was President and twice mayor of Guatemala City.


Alvaro Arzú comes from a wealthy and influential Guatemalan family of entrepreneurs Basque origin. He studied law and social sciences at the Universidad Rafael Landívar run by Jesuits in Guatemala City. Whether he finished his studies, however, is debatable. He is married to his second wife and has five children and six grandchildren. After he initially worked as an entrepreneur in the areas of tourism, trade and industry, he was from 1978-1981 director of the State Institute of Tourism INGUAT (Instituto de Turismo Guatemalteco ).

Political career

In 1981, Arzú as a candidate of the Christian Democratic Party ( Democracia Cristiana Guatemalteca, DCG ) and National Renewal Party ( Partido Nacional Renovador, PNR) the elected Mayor of Guatemala City. However, before he could take office, the elections were canceled by General Efraín Ríos Montt in March 1982 in the wake of a military coup. The military government then offered him a post in the local government to, but he declined. In the course of democratization in Guatemala Arzú founded in 1985 with other entrepreneurs, the Citizens Committee "Plan for National Progress" ( Plan de Avanzada Nacional), emerged from the four years later the Party for National Progress ( Partido de Avanzada Nacional, PAN). In November 1985, he again won the elections for mayor and this time could also assume the office for the term 1986-1991. He won in this function, a high degree of recognition. In 1990, he resigned as mayor in order to participate as a presidential candidate of the PAN in the elections in November of the year can. His successor in the office of mayor was Óscar Berger Perdomo, who was confirmed by the subsequent elections in office. Since Arzú other hand won only the fourth place in the presidential elections, he supported and the PAN in the second round to eventual champion Jorge Serrano Elías, who then relied Arzú as foreign minister in his cabinet. When the Serrano government recognized in 1992 in Belize, without on this question - this was called the PAN - hold a referendum Arzú resigned in protest as Foreign Minister. Since the PAN shortly afterwards at parliamentary level alliance with the ruling party MAS ( Movimiento de Acción Social) aufkündigte and went into opposition, reputation Arzu and his party were not damaged by the self- coup Serranos in 1993. From 1992 to 1995 Arzú was Secretary General of the PAN.


After he had decided the presidential election in November 1995 in the second round against the candidate of the Republican Front of Guatemala ( Frente Republicano Guatemalteco, FRG), Alfonso Portillo Cabrera for themselves, Arzú was 1996-2000 President of Guatemala.

As president, he campaigned for a speedy conclusion of the protracted for six years peace negotiations with the guerrilla organization URNG ( Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca ). Thanks a secret trip to Mexico, where he first opened direct negotiations with the leadership of the URNG, he managed the breakthrough that led to the signing of the final peace agreement and thus to the formal termination of the thirty-six years civil war in Guatemala in December 1996. All agreed in the peace treaty constitutional amendments have been implemented yet under his presidency, and approved in October 1998 by the Parliament. However, the referendum in March 1999, was for the government Arzú a fiasco because - 50.6% voted 'no' and only 40.4 % said " yes" ( 10% - with a turnout of only 18.6 % votes were invalid ).

A problematic consequence of the peace treaty, which was given the Arzú government only with difficulty in the handle, was the sudden increase in general crime. In particular, there was a wave of kidnappings.

In economic policy, Alvaro Arzú stood for a neo-liberal policy, which was mainly characterized by extensive privatization (eg the electricity company EEGSA, the telephone company GUATEL, the airline Aviateca and the railway company FEGUA ).

Since the Guatemalan constitution does not allow a direct re-election of the President, Arzú retired in 2000 from the office. In the presidential elections in November / December 1999 was the candidate of the PAN, Óscar Berger, inferior to that of the FRG candidate Alfonso Portillo in the second ballot.

More political career

Following his presidency was Arzú 2000-2004 Member of the Central American Parliament PARLACEN. He retired from the PAN and, together with other former party friends the Unionist Party ( Partido Union Ista, PU). For this he won the elections in November 2003, again for mayor of Guatemala City for the period from 2004 to 2008. In 2005, he became the third best mayor of the world selected ( and best mayor of Latin America ) at the annually held "World Mayor " contest. In the local elections in September 2007, he was elected for the term 2008-12 in office.


Furthermore him the University of St. Paul awarded an honorary doctorate.

  • President ( Guatemala)
  • Secretary of State (Guatemala)
  • Mayor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Born in 1946
  • Man