Bernardo Arévalo takes office as President of Guatemala after nine-hour delay

(CNN Spanish) — Bernardo Arévalo was sworn in as Guatemala’s president early Monday morning, with his inauguration delayed by more than nine hours while the opposition-controlled Congress debated the admission of incoming legislators, who were to be sworn in before the president.

The delay ended after new lawmakers were finally sworn in and a congressional board was elected to formally appoint the president.

The legislature also revoked a decision of the previous Congress that designated members of Arévalo’s Semilla party as independents, a move that barred them from serving on the Congress’s board of directors and weakened Arévalo’s power. Weakened.

Arévalo will be President of Guatemala for the next four years.

In his inaugural speech, Arévalo said today was a “extravagant” day and that his inauguration was “an important milestone for democratic practice.”

The President said, “Taking on this high responsibility fills me with deep respect, it shows that our democracy has the necessary strength to resist. And through unity and trust we can change the political landscape in Guatemala. “

The president said that what is happening in Guatemala, like in other parts of the world, is a fight against totalitarianism, and that his country is fighting with “conviction and resilience.”

“This is the fight we face in Guatemala and other parts of Central America and the world. The fight is being fought against new and old forms of authoritarianism that limit people’s aspirations and betray their sovereignty I’m proud, I’m proud to affirm that the people of Guatemala are offering the world community an unprecedented example of democratic conviction and resilience,” the president said in Guatemala City.

Bernardo Arevalo

Guatemala’s new President Bernardo Arévalo (left) takes the oath of office before the new Speaker of Congress, Samuel Perez, during his inauguration ceremony at the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center in Guatemala City on January 14, 2024. Guatemala’s president on Sunday ended a months-long judicial conspiracy to prevent the anti-corruption crusader from taking office, after the ceremony was delayed by more than nine hours. (Photo by Johan Ordonez/AFP)

The delay was so long that many world leaders who had traveled to Guatemala for the inauguration could wait no longer and returned to their countries to attend other commitments. These included the Presidents of Chile and Paraguay.

Given this situation, the presidents, chancellors and high-level officials attending the inauguration issued a joint statement in which they called on Congress to follow the law and proceed with Arévalo’s swearing-in. The statement supported by the EU was read by Luis Almagro, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS).

During the night Arévalo published a message on

“At this moment I am going to the Miguel Ángel Asturias Cultural Center, where the solemn session of the Congress of the Republic will continue,” he said.

The President of Paraguay, Santiago Peña, left Guatemala, but showed his support for Arévalo in X. “I appreciate the hospitality of the Guatemalan people and their warm attention during our stay,” he said in the message. He said, “Unfortunately, for previously established agenda reasons, I will not be able to live until Bernardo Arévalo takes over as President of this brotherly country, but we will continue to support the popular will and ensure respect “

(tagstotranslate)Bernardo Arévalo

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