A president's spokesman said Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has resigned in the face of a fraud scandal.
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Jorge Ortega says Perez Molina submitted his resignation at midnight local time after a judge issued an order to detain him in a corruption case that has brought his government to the brink.
On Wednesday, Guatemalan Congress voted to strip President Otto Perez Molina of his immunity from prosecution amid a corruption investigation into the role he had played in a customs fraud ring.
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The legislative assembly voted unanimously, with 132 votes in favor to zero against, to strip Perez Molina. After a petition from the country’s attorney general last week to the Supreme Court, the judicial body supported the motion and asked Congress to put it to a vote, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
Perez Molina is accused of having led the “La Linea” criminal operation, for which more than 20 public officials, including former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, have already been arrested.
In May this year, Guatemalans jammed onto the capital’s streets Saturday to voice anger over corruption that permeates the government, demanding jail time for the guilty and calling for President Otto Perez Molina to resign.
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Protesters gather outside the National Palace to demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina in Guatemala City, Saturday.(Photo-AP)[/caption]
The protest march, which converged on the city’s main square outside the National Palace, was organized through social media without any discernible leadership. But it drew support from a wide range of sectors in the Central American nation, including business leaders, academics, student groups, farmers, churches and human rights advocates.
ALSO READ: Guatemalans Jam Streets To Voice Anger Over Corruption
Businessman Geovanni Vasquez said he joined in the demonstration because he and many other Guatemalans feel “indignant at the great corruption committed by government officials.”
Marches were also called in other parts of the country to demand that the president step down, with many people blaming him for the graft. Perez Molina has denied any involvement and said corruption must be fought.
The latest scandal involves what prosecutors allege was a multimillion-dollar scheme in which bribes were paid to avoid customs duties on imports.
At least 50 private citizens and public servants, including Guatemala’s current and former tax chiefs, are suspects in the customs scandal.