Former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina was jailed a few hours after resigning from his role as president on Thursday. Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ordered Perez Molina be held in the Matamoros jail in Guatemala City to await the conclusion of a hearing examining his role in a corruption scandal.
Former Constitutional Court Judge Alejandro Maldonado is scheduled to take over as Guatemala’s temporary president, teleSUR reported. Guatemala’s former President Otto Perez Molina resigned from his position of power on Thursday in the wake of a corruption scandal that rocked the Central American country.
Perez Molina, along with a slew of other government officials, were allegedly involved in a fraud network that consisted of businesses paying bribes to clear their imports through customs at a small portion of the actual tax rate. Perez Molina’s immunity was revoked as a result, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. This is the first time in Central America’s history that a president has resigned, forcing the vice president to step up and fill his role.
Maldonado was elected by the Guatemalan Congress as acting vice president after Roxana Baldetti, the country’s former vice president, resigned on May 8 because of her involvement in the same corruption scandal. Maldonado is a conservative and affiliated with the far-right party, National Liberation Movement, and studied law at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.
Maldonado has an impressive and expansive resume; he began his political career in 1956 when he served a councillor on the Guatemala City Council and went on to become a Congress legislator. He was made minister of education from 1970 to 1974. Maldonado rejoined the cabinet as a foreign minister in 1995. Other highlights of Maldonado’s career include serving as an ambassador to the United Nations in New York as well as a representative ambassador for the U.N. European Office in Geneva.
Elections for the next president are scheduled for Sunday, and 7.5 million Guatemalans are eligible to vote for the new president, vice president and other government officials. Maldonado is expected to remain in office until the winner of the election is inaugurated Jan. 14.