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Mayoral Candidate Slain in Guatemala

November 7, 1990

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ The mayor of an eastern town was shot to death at his re-election campaign headquarters, and the Interior Ministry blamed a domestic dispute.

Police said Roberto Antonio Bonilla, 52, was killed by two assailants on Monday night in Jalapa, 63 miles east of Guatemala City.

Jalapa is one of about 300 towns that will hold mayoral and city council elections on Sunday. Voters also will elect a president, vice president, 116 members of congress and 20 Central American Parliament deputies.

A security guard shot one of Bonilla’s killers to death, and officers were looking for the other one, police said in a telephone interview.

There has been other election violence, but Interior Minister Gen. Carlos Morales Villatoro said there was no political motive behind Bonilla’s killing.

″In accordance with investigations, it was determined that (Bonilla) was slain by a person who was to have married his daughter,″ Morales Villatoro said in a statement Tuesday night. ″Consequently, this crime was strictly due to family problems and there is nothing political in it.″

The statement did not give the killer’s name.

Bonilla is the second mayoral candidate killed since the campaign began. Also, two Central American Parliament candidates were attacked on Oct. 18, two other political party activists were slain earlier and one federal deputy was assassinated.

Bonilla was elected in 1985 on the National Center Union ticket. This year he was running as the candidate of the center-left Christian Democrats and the Revolutionary Party.

Twelve candidates are in the running for the presidency, including publisher Jorge Carpio Nicolle, who is favored in opinion polls.

Carpio founded the National Center Union party seven years ago and lost a runoff against Christian Democrat President Vinicio Cerezo in 1985.

Alfonso Cabrera Hidalgo, the Christian Democratic candidate, has been in a hospital in Houston for three days with pancreas trouble.

A runoff is scheduled for Jan. 6 if none of the 12 candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote.

Former dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt ran unsuccessfuly for president on the Christian Democrat ticket in 1974, and was disqualified from candidacy this year because he took power through a 1982 military coup.

Update hourly