Two Guatemala opposition members shot dead

Supporters of the Renewed Democratic Liberty opposition party (LIDER) take part in a vigil in Guatemala city on July 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Johan Ordonez)

Guatemala City (AFP) - Two opposition politicians were shot dead in separate attacks in Guatemala, the party leader said Wednesday, just weeks before general elections are set to take place.

Orlando Guzman, a candidate for the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) and member of the Renewed Democratic Freedom Party (Lider), was shot overnight Tuesday to Wednesday near the eastern town of Rio Hondo, said the party's presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon.

A local Lider representative, Abel del Cid, 54, was fatally shot early Wednesday while he was driving an official party car in the hamlet of La Pajarita, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of the capital.

Speaking on local Radio Sonora, Baldizon condemned the killings and accused the business community of trying to thwart his party's campaign efforts.

"They are rich oligarchs that are trying to force me to sit down with them," to negotiate, said Baldizon.

The 45-year-old lawyer and businessman is the favorite to win the September 6 elections.

Last Friday, the electoral commission ordered the party to end its campaign efforts after it exceeded the $6.8 million budget limit.

The latest polls released Monday show Baldizon well in the lead with 24.9 percent support, ahead of actor and film producer Jimmy Morales of the National Convergence Front with 16.2 percent.

The elections take place against a backdrop of political turmoil in Guatemala, as thousands have protested recent weeks demanding the resignation of President Otto Perez, plagued by a corruption scandal.