Guatemalan Congress to vote on lifting presidential immunity

Guatemalan congressional committee recommends congress vote to lift immunity of President Otto Perez Molina following corruption allegations

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina attends a meeting with police chiefs at the Interior Ministry in Guatemala City, June 11, 2015

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina could be stripped of immunity from prosecution over corruption allegations following a recommendation issued by a five-member congressional committee on Saturday.

The Perez Molina administration is under pressure from fraud allegations that top government officials helped businessmen evade import duties in return for a cut from bribes given during the process.

Guatemala's former vice president has been jailed and is awaiting trial after being pushed to resign, while several cabinet ministers have also quit their posts in protest.A nationwide protest movement is now building demanding Molina step down.

The congressional committee stated that Congress could vote on the recommendation next week. A "yes" vote from two-thirds of the Congress is required to lift presidential immunity.

The president has denied allegations of corruption and does not show any signs that he will step down willingly.

Perez Molina's term is due to finish in January 2016 but protests and political pressure may force him to resign or he might be removed from office as a result of legal proceedings.

A request to impeach the president made by Guatemala's attorney general has been approved by the Supreme Court. If Congress decides to lift the Perez Molina’s immunity, the Supreme Court will initiate legal procedures to press charges against him.

TRTWorld and agencies