Home Headlines Bernardo Arévalo was sworn in as the new president of Guatemala

Bernardo Arévalo was sworn in as the new president of Guatemala

by Yucatan Times
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Guatemalan citizens and international leaders supported the president-elect in the face of last-minute obstacles to prevent him from being sworn in.

Bernardo Arévalo is finally the president of Guatemala. The president took the oath of office in a ceremony at the Miguel Ángel Asturias cultural center on Sunday. His path to the presidency has been so complicated that the investiture was plagued with uncertainty. The ceremony was scheduled for 3 p.m. (local time), but tensions and bickering in Congress delayed it for nine hours.

These last-minute obstacles pushed the investiture back to midnight, and international guests, such as Spain’s King Felipe and Chilean President Gabriel Boric, had to leave before they could see the Seed Movement leader be sworn in.

After reaching an agreement on the composition of Congress’ board of directors after 10:30 p.m., the lawmakers traveled by bus to the cultural center to swear in Arévalo and his vice president, Karin Herrera. Arévalo received the presidential sash and the key to the Constitution from Samuel Pérez, another member of the Seed Movement.

Pérez was elected president of the Congress of Guatemala — a big win for the Seed Movement, which managed to secure enough votes despite being the third-largest party in Congress.

Arévalo also acknowledged the “complex tensions and challenges” that he has been up against after winning the election. The efforts to derail his win sparked alarms about the authoritarian drift of Guatemala. “The world is being confronted by a wave of authoritarianism, the spread of intolerance, the restriction of dissent,” he argued in a nearly 25-minute speech. “We are facing new authoritarian phenomena such as the corrupt co-optation of state institutions by criminal groups that exploit their democratic appearance to betray the principles of liberty, equality, justice and fraternity on which they are founded. This is the struggle we are facing in Guatemala and elsewhere in Central America,” he insisted.

Born in Uruguay, Arévalo — the son of former Guatemalan president Juan José Arévalo (1945-1951) — achieved a surprise victory at the August elections with a campaign based on fighting corruption and curbing the rise of authoritarianism. But he is unlikely to have an easy time as president: the judiciary is against him, and his party is in the minority in Congress.

TYT Newsroom

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