The ambiguity of Álvaro Colom's political programme is naturally complemented by his personal deficiencies of elocution.
This is his third tilt at the highest office in Guatemala; he has therefore built up a considerable debt to his backers, many of whom are noted for their shadiness. It is his last chance.
He also has a problematic wife. Sandra Torres Casanova was, according to rumours in circulation, the one time lover of Guerrilla commander 'Comandante Isaías' who spent most of the eighties holed up on the Tajmulco volcano near San Marcos. She herself went by the name of 'Marta' then and regularly assisted the insurgents with logistics...and one noted kidnapping, it is said. Her personal circle, including her private secretary, still apparently fraternise rather intimately with the old guerrilla leadership, and Señora Colom is also said to have ties with exiled former President Jorge Antonio Serrano Elías.
She has been largely kept under wraps during the 2007 election, no doubt because Colom's opponents four years ago were able to successfully intimate that she had an undue influence over her husband.
Colom himself has consistently been the subject of 'black' rumours. That he drinks, that he is a closet Maya priest. His last campaign was derailed by allegations of corruption that he eventually managed to disprove, but many still suspect that his UNE party has connections with organised crime and the narcos.
Many middle-class voters don't want to have this mumbler representing their nation abroad.
Yet UNE's essentially centre-left positioning would in theory represent a significant change of direction in Guatemalan politics and Colom has a much better chance than Pérez Molina of forming an effective majority government in the congress (in which UNE is now the largest single group).