Bernardo Arévalo sworn in as Guatemala’s president

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By LatAm Reports Editor

“Never again authoritarianism,” proclaimed today the new president of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo, as soon as he was invested head of state of the Central American country, after a stormy transition process in which the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and some Thursdays and parliamentarians of the Legislature that has just ended tried to prevent him from assuming office.

“The people of Guatemala have demonstrated their wisdom, and institutions such as the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal have protected the sovereign desire of Guatemalans to live in democracy,” the president said in his first speech.

Arévalo de Léon received the presidential band from the president of Congress, Samuel Pérez Álvarez, also elected to office this Sunday, because the outgoing president, Alejandro Giammattei, was absent from the ceremony arguing that he should hand over his post no later than midnight on Sunday and therefore sent the institutional symbols to Congress through his secretary.

Arévalo de León and Pérez Álvarez are two of the founders of the Seed Movement, the party born of the anti-corruption demonstrations registered in the Central American country during 2015 and which culminated in the fall of Otto Pérez Molina’s government (2012-2015), currently in prison.

“It is thanks to the young people of Guatemala, who did not lose hope, that today I can speak to them on this podium,” proclaimed the academic and political leader, who thanked the indigenous peoples for defending Guatemala’s democracy.

Arévalo entered the National Theatre Miguel Ángel Asturias, where the investiture ceremony took place, to the sound of the concert for violin and orchestra “La Primavera,” by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.

The newly invested president has promised the arrival of a “new spring,” such as the one starring the government of his father, Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, between 1946 and 1951, in one of the most developed administrations for the Central American country.

Accompanied by his wife, Lucrecia Peinado, the president walked in the middle of the theatrical enclosure between applause and smiles, despite the more than ten hours of delay of the ceremony, which finally took place in the early morning of January 15, although the law states that it must be held on January 14.

Since he took second place in the first round of the presidential elections, Arévalo de León and the Seed Movement were persecuted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía) and the judges of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, with the aim of reversing their victory in the polls.

The new ruler comes to power with an anti-corruption speech, as does his party, born precisely from the 2015 demonstrations, which gave way to the fall of President Otto Pérez Molina.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador