The presidential elections of 1985, with the victory of Mario Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo (PDCG), marked the start of a democratization of political life. The hopes of an easing of internal tensions between the Marxist guerrillas, drug traffickers and the right-wing army were soon disappointed, however, due to the failure of the attempts at dialogue. Having lost the favor of the army, which he had also had to support in his reform efforts, Cerezo Arévalo managed to overcome some coup attempts (1988-89), while in the country there was a resurgence of terrorist acts, carried out by both parts. The new presidential campaign thus took place in an atmosphere of violence, with the reappearance of the “death squads”. The victory went to Jorge Serrano Elias, from Movimiento para Acción y Solidaridad (MAS), who managed to beat Jorge Carpio Nicolle (UCN) in the second round. Taking office in 1991, two years after Serrano Elias, in an attempt to contain growing popular opposition, attempted an autogolpe by suspending the Constitution and dissolving Parliament. However, without international support, he was forced to resign: a national salvation junta was therefore created, of which he was also part Rigoberta Menchú (Nobel Peace Prize 1992), and Ramiro de Leon Carpio (UCN), a well-known defender of human rights, was elected head of state.
In 1994, according to usaers, after having submitted a series of changes aimed at containing corruption to a referendum, new legislative elections were called, won by the right-wing formations: the Republican Front and the National Progress Party. On the international level, between the second half of the Eighties and the beginning of the Nineties, the internal political evolution continued with the renunciation of claims on the territory of Belize. In November 1995, new presidential and legislative elections were held, in which the Indians participated for the first time, with the possibility of presenting their candidates in the elections for the National Congress: in the ballot, held at the beginning of 1996, Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen, managed to prevail, albeit to a limited extent, over the more radical right-wing candidate. The new president immediately gave proof of wanting to continue the reconciliation policy of his predecessor and started a general “reclamation” of the Guatemalan institutions by replacing many cadres of the old state apparatus with young people of more secure democratic faith. Many elements of the Army General Staff, involved in the systematic violation of human rights, paid the price. These were decisive measures for the renewal of Guatemalan society, but also for the acceleration of negotiations with the guerrillas. Two months after taking office, Arzú Irigoyen obtained a ceasefire declaration from the URNG. The negotiation, now maturing after the decades of civil war that had bloodied the country, it led to the decision to reduce the number of the army (September), followed by the agreements for electoral reform and the reintegration of the guerrillas into civilian life (December). At the end of 1996, the final signature of President Arzú Irigoyen and the guerrilla leader Carlos Monsanto put an end to a conflict that cost at least 200,000 victims, including confirmed deaths and disappeared.
Despite the help of many countries, international organizations and private associations, Arzú Irigoyen, architect of the peace agreement with the guerrillas, was unable to effectively deal with the disastrous economic situation in the country and Alfonso Portillo imposed himself in the presidential elections of December 1999, candidate of the Republican Front of the former coup general Efraín Ríos Montt, who obtained 69% of the votes against 31% of Oscar Berger, candidate of the outgoing president’s party. In the presidential elections of December 2003, Berger, candidate of the Ghana (Great National Alliance), a conservative formation, was elected with a program in which he pledged to combat discrimination and racism, and proposed a government of national unity. In 2004, the government launched a series of programs to ensure internal peace, modernize economic structures, particularly in the tourism sector, and reduce public spending. In 2005 the customs union between Guatemala entered into force, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, whereby customs posts at border posts were replaced by jointly operated police stations. In September 2007 the legislative elections took place in which the Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza (UNE) won with 22.8% of the votes, GANA obtained 16.5% and the PP 15.9%. In November the presidential elections were held, won by Alvaro Colom Caballero, candidate of the UNE, with 53% of the votes, against 47% of the challenger Otto Perez Molina, a former army general who in turn won in 2011. Nell ‘In October 2015, former comedian Jimmy Morales won the presidential election in the ballot, defeating former first lady Sandra Torres.