A former TV comedian has been sworn in as Guatemala’s new president on the back of widespread public anger at government corruption.
Jimmy Morales used his inaugural address on Thursday evening to promise more transparency in the country’s political system but cautioned that it would take time for change to come.
“A new Guatemala is possible, and it’s worth the struggle. Of course things could be better, but I want you to bear in mind things don’t change overnight . . . we’re passing from the darkness of corruption to the dawn of transparency,” Morales said.
Morales won elections in October last year on a platform of putting an end to the country’s spate of multimillion-dollar corruption scandals.
In August protests erupted against former President Otto Perez Molina after investigators accused government officials of taking bribes from businesses looking to avoid paying import duties in a scandal known as “La Linea” (the line).
Molina later resigned and has been jailed pending a decision on whether he will stand trial on corruption charges.
Morales was the surprise winner of October’s vote, taking most votes in the first round and then beating former vice-president Sandra Torres in the runoff.
Despite the win, analyst Roberto Wagner told reporters that Morales will struggle to push through the reforms needed to satisfy those who voted for him.
“It’s the make or break year, definitely. We’re finally going to know what Jimmy’s made of,” Wagner said.
“We’re finally going to know if he is able to make up a team of people that are going to support him.” – Al Jazeera.