Latin America & Caribbean

Guatemala President Perez Molina resists calls to resign

Protesters outside the presidential palace in Guatemala City, 23 August 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protestors have rallied outside the presidential palace in Guatemala City

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has said that he will not stand down over corruption allegations.

In a televised address to the nation, Mr Perez Molina dismissed claims that he had received money from a customs bribery scheme.

He insisted that his conscience was clear.

Eight members of his government have resigned over the allegations and a former vice-president has been arrested.

On Sunday, the agriculture and health minsters became the latest to resign.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Perez Molina held a late-night cabinet meeting

"I categorically reject any link" to the scandal, the president said.

"I will not resign and will fully submit myself to the legal process."

Mr Perez Molina's comments followed a late-night cabinet meeting held behind closed doors at the presidential palace.

Anti-corruption protesters have held daily demonstrations in the capital calling for the president to step down.

On Friday, former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti was arrested on corruption charges three months after she was forced to leave office.

She is accused of taking part in the same bribery scheme.

Nearly 30 other people have been detained, accused of taking millions of dollars from businessmen who paid bribes in order to avoid higher import duties.

Presidential elections are being held in early September, but electoral law bars Mr Perez Molina from standing for another term.

The elections are expected to go to a second round of voting, later in October.

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