New President sworn in Guatemela!
After Perez Molina's resignation, Vice-President Alejandro Maldinado took office as the new President in Guatemala. Maldonado reached out to protesters, ensuring he would "leave a legacy of honesty" in his brief few months in office. He demanded the resignation of all top government officials and promised an inclusive administration. Maldonado is expected to govern until new president is sworn on 14 January 2016.
Otto Perez Molina was an ex-military officer who became the President of Guatemala by winning the 2011 Presidential Elections as a Patriotic Party candidate. His term would have ended on 14 January 2016.
Guatemalan President, Perez Molina allegedly operated a fraudulent system wherein businesses paid bribes to clear their imports through customs at a lesser portion of the actual tax-rate. The scandal was known as "La Linea" (The line) which came to revealed in April 2015, leading to mass-protests. Molina had repeatedly denied the accusations against him, stating that he did not procure any gains from it.
As the custom-fraud unfolded in April, protesters filled Geutemala city's constition square demanding the resignation of Perez Molina. The protests grew in quantity and quality as few protesters peacefully demonstrated in adjacent streets, unable to get to the main square. The young played drums and danced while chanting slogans. On August 28, the largest demonstration took place as a part of a national strike.
Amidst charges of corrupton for the custom-bribe case, Roxana Baldetti left the office of Vice-President of Guatemala on 14 May 2015. Roxana Baldetti was the first female Vice-president of Guetemala and had taken office in 2012.
The Central-American Supreme-Court ruled that Molina should be investigated and asked the Congress to lift the President's immunity. The Guatamalan Congress named a commission requested by an opposition party which conducted investigation into Molina's fraud case. The matter was taken up with utmost seriousness amidst surging protests. A spokesperson of Molina stated that he would cooperate with the law as the investigation moves forward.
Five days before the Presidential Elections, the Guatemalan Congress voted to revoke President Perez Molina's immunity from prosecution to trigger investigation against him. The vote was carried out with 132-0; 26 deputies being absent. The anti-corruption protesters formed a human-cordon to allow the deputies to safely enter the chamber. This was the first time a President was stripped off immunity in a Central-American country.
A few hours after a judge issued an arrest-warrant against him, Guatemalan President, Otto Perez Molina announced his resignation before midnight to "confront the proceedings against him." The Guatemalan Congress voted unanimously to approve his letter of resignation, making the resignation official. It was a noteworthy event that upheld democracy and marked success for the innumerable street protesters demanding his resignation, demonstrating since April.
Hours after his resignation, Molina was taken in custody and sent to jail to await the conclusions of the hearing in the multi-million dollar custom fraud case. In the courtroom, prosecutors played wiretap recording that implicate him in the customs-scam which raised $3.7million in a single year. Half of the sum went to Molina and former Vice-President Roxanna Baldetti. Molina proclaimed to be innocent.
Alejandro Maldinado served as a constitutional judge, congressional deputy and an ambassador of the United Nations. He was the Minister of Education from 1970-1974 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995-1996 before he took office as the Vice-President of Guetemala in May 2015 after Roxana Baldetti resigned.