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News > Guatemala

Guatemala: Arevalo Was Sworn in as President After Coup Failure

  • Swearing-in ceremony of Bernardo Arevalos as the Guatemalan president, Jan. 15, 2024.

    Swearing-in ceremony of Bernardo Arevalos as the Guatemalan president, Jan. 15, 2024. | Photo: X/ @ProgIntl

Published 15 January 2024

His inauguration was at risk due to coup maneuvers by the Attorney General's Office and right-wing legislators.

In the early hours of Monday, Guatemala's President Bernardo Arevalo was finally sworn in after a day filled with incidents and several months of uncertainty.


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During this time, Attorney General Consuelo Porras tried to prevent his ascent to power. The inauguration was initially scheduled for Sunday afternoon but was delayed by more than 10 hours, causing several heads of state to leave Guatemala without witnessing the ceremony.

Arevalo, a 65-year-old academic symbolizing the fight against corruption, took office at the end of a day in which the power transfer was at risk due to significant delays in routine legal procedures by the outgoing Congress.

This delay was intended as a "coup," as Arevalo had warned on Sept. 1, accusing Porras of attempting to prevent his inauguration. Arevalo won the 2023 presidential elections with the Seed Movement, a progressive party born out of the 2015 anti-corruption protests.

The outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei did not personally attend the National Theater for the handover ceremony and sent institutional symbols through his secretary.

Vice President Guillermo Castillo, however, did attend the ceremony and handed over his position to the biologist Karin Herrera.

"Faced with the risk of reaching midnight without starting the protocolary acts, at this moment, I handed over the symbols of the Presidency to the Congress," said Giammattei.

He submitted his final report on Friday, despite the tradition for outgoing presidents to attend the congress on January 14 for the transition. This practice had been upheld since the country's return to democracy in 1982.

Samuel Perez, a 31-year-old legislator from the Seed Movement, was elected president of the Congress, after reaching agreements with various parties and securing 90 votes. His election was a surprise since the Seed Movement only has 23 out of 160 legislators.

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