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Former comedian Jimmy Morales has been inaugurated as Guatemala’s new president.

Jimmy Morales was elected in October after huge anti-corruption demonstrations that led to the prosecution of a former president and vice-president.

He has no previous experience in government. In his inaugural address, Jimmy Morales promised to fight against corruption.

US Vice-President Joe Biden attended the ceremony.

It was the first time in 30 years that such a high-ranking American official was present at a Guatemalan inauguration.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

In a wide-ranging speech, Jimmy Morales praised the anti-corruption movement and said Guatemala was going through a “renaissance”.

He also promised money for health and education.

“We want quality education for everyone, which prepares our children for a modern technical world,” Jimmy Morales said.

His critics said President Jimmy Morales gave few clues as to how he was going to fight corruption and how he was going to deal with Guatemala’s high levels of violence, poverty and social inequality.

Last week legal proceedings began against an aide to Jimmy Morales who is suspected of human rights abuses related to Guatemala’s long and bloody armed conflict which ended in 1996.

Fourteen former military officers – many supporters of Jimmy Morales’s party – were arrested on similar charges.

Jimmy Morales has denied links to the former military officials.

Jimmy Morales has been elected as Guatemala’s president after winning the runoff vote in the country’s presidential election.

The former comedian has no experience in government.

Jimmy Morales polled 72% against former Guatemala first lady Sandra Torres, who is seen by many as part of the country’s unpopular political elite.

Sandra Torres admitted defeat before all the votes were counted, as the margin of Jimmy Morales’ lead became clear.

The vote took place a month after the resignation and arrest of President Otto Perez Molina.

Otto Perez Molina is accused of leading a corrupt network of politicians and customs officials.

Photo TeleSUR

Photo TeleSUR

The former president denies involvement in a scheme which saw businessmen pay bribes to evade customs charges.

Many voters see Jimmy Morales as a fresh start following nationwide protests that ousted Otto Perez Molina.

“As president I received a mandate, and the mandate of the people of Guatemala is to fight against the corruption that is consuming us. God bless and thank you,” said Jimmy Morales after the count.

However, turnout was low, despite calls for voters to help Guatemala overcome a serious political crisis.

Sandra Torres ran government social programs when her ex-husband Alvaro Colom was president between 2008 and 2012.

Jimmy Morales has regaled voters with stories about his humble origins and jokes from a 14-year period on a TV comedy show.

He has been criticized for some of his more far-fetched policies which include the tagging of teachers with a GPS device to ensure they attend classes and giving each Guatemalan child an iPhone.

Jimmy Morales’ manifesto is only six pages – giving few indications as to how he might run the country – but he is known to favor low taxes and limited government.

One of his most famous comedy roles was that of a useless cowboy who becomes president by accident.

Jimmy Morales faces a difficult task as his National Convergence Front (FCN) will have just 11 out of 158 seats in the next Congress.

Critics accuse Jimmy Morales of having no program and no team, just the ability to exploit voter grievances.

His rise in the polls has been attributed to his targeting of public sector corruption which has engulfed the government.

One investigation found that former President Otto Perez Molina and his vice president were at the center of the customs scam. Both deny any involvement.

Otto Perez Molina was impeached, deprived of his presidential immunity and arrested in September. He is now in jail awaiting trial.


Guatemala’s President Otto Pérez Molina has resigned hours after a judge issued an arrest warrant against the leader in connection to a growing corruption scandal that has plunged the country into its worst political crisis since the end of a brutal civil war.

Presidential spokesman Jorge Ortega has confirmed in a statement on September 3 that the president has stepped down.

On September 1, Guatemala’s congress voted to remove Otto Perez Molina’s immunity from prosecution amid corruption allegations.

Prosecutors accuse the president of masterminding a scheme to defraud the customs service of millions of dollars, allegations he denies.

The judge has barred Otto Perez Molina from leaving the country.Otto Perez Molina resigns as Guatemala president

The president, whose term runs out in January, will now be summoned to appear before a court.

The detention order was signed by Judge Miguel Angel Galvez, the prosecutor’s office said.

On September 1, all members of congress present at the vote endorsed a move to strip Otto Perez Molina of his immunity.

They included members of the president’s own party.

A previous vote to remove Otto Perez Molina’s immunity failed last month.

Since then, more details of the corruption scandal have emerged and calls for the president to resign have increased.

Investigators allege that government officials received a cut from bribes paid by businesses seeking to evade import duties.

Guatemala’s VP Roxana Baldetti and a string of top officials have been forced to resign over the scandal.

Roxana Baldetti is in jail awaiting trial on charges of taking millions of dollars in bribes.

Otto Perez Molina was stripped of his immunity just days before presidential elections on September 6.

Some protesters have demanded that the polls be postponed, but officials argue that it would be against the law.

Otto Perez Molina is barred by the constitution from standing again.