Bernardo Arevalo’s inauguration as Guatemalan president hits delay | EUROtoday

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GUATEMALA CITY — The inauguration of a reformist president, Bernardo Arévalo, was delayed for hours on Sunday due to last-minute congressional wrangling, threatening a political disaster simply as one of many hemisphere’s most notoriously corrupt nations had appeared to be turning a nook.

Spain’s King Felipe VI, the presidents of Chile, Colombia and different Latin American international locations, in addition to the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, had been left cooling their heels after the congressional feuds pushed again the scheduled 3 p.m. swearing-in.

Arévalo, an anti-corruption crusader, surprised the political institution by successful in a landslide the August election deemed free and truthful by worldwide observers. But the Guatemalan lawyer common’s workplace has responded with investigations into alleged fraud. Prosecutors even have tried to strip the immunity of Arévalo and his allies, so that they might be investigated, and have moved to invalidate the authorized registration of the president’s social gathering, Semilla.

Alexander Aizenstatd, a distinguished constitutional lawyer, mentioned that if Congress didn’t resolve its disputes and preside over the inauguration, Arévalo would nonetheless take workplace. “At midnight, he automatically becomes president, by law,” he mentioned. Analysts noticed the congressional maneuvering as an effort to weaken the brand new president and his social gathering, which had hoped to kind a coalition to go Congress.

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The chaos provided an indication of the obstacles Arévalo could face as soon as he takes workplace. Guatemala has been dominated by what analysts dub the “Pact of the Corrupt” — an alliance of politicians, narcotraffickers, ex-military officers and unethical businesspeople.

After his shock victory, Arévalo received essential help from the nation’s Indigenous inhabitants, which declared a nationwide strike in October to protest the actions in search of to invalidate his election. The worldwide neighborhood additionally pushed to avert what many have known as a “judicial coup.” When Congress seemed to be jockeying to exchange members of the highest electoral court docket in December, the U.S. authorities canceled the visas of two-thirds of Guatemalan legislators.

In December, the nation’s Constitutional Court ordered Congress to “guarantee” the inauguration of Arévalo on Jan. 14, in addition to the opposite election winners.

But on Sunday, shouting matches broke out in Congress as lawmakers had been unable to succeed in settlement on their new chief — usually a prerequisite for the presidential inauguration. Some lawmakers additionally claimed there have been irregularities within the paperwork of some incoming members of Congress.

Meanwhile, in a last-minute determination on Sunday morning, the Constitutional Court upheld a short lived suspension of Semilla’s authorized standing, which means its members might solely enter Congress as independents. That removes the social gathering’s means to carry prime positions in Congress or be a part of the agenda-setting management.

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“They don’t want Bernardo to take the presidency with the executive power, the presidency [of Congress]popular support in Guatemala and international support,” mentioned Daniel Haering, a political analyst. “At least with this decision, they are taking the leadership of Congress away from him.”

Guatemalans had been so hopeful about Arévalo’s inauguration that tons of slept within the streets of the capital on Saturday night time, to be current for his swearing-in. On Sunday, protesters shouting “Get out, coup-plotters!” threatened to storm Congress.

The European Union, the Organization of American States and quite a few dignitaries pressured their help for Arévalo because the dispute went on Sunday.

“There is no question that Bernardo Arévalo is the President of Guatemala,” tweeted Power, who headed the U.S. delegation to the inauguration. “We call on all sides to remain calm — and for the Guatemalan Congress to uphold the will of the people. The world is watching.”

Sheridan reported from Mexico City.