Latin America & Caribbean

Jimmy Morales inaugurated as new Guatemala president

Jimmy Morales, accompanied by his wife Gilda Marroquin, acknowledges after being sworn-in as president in Guatemala City, January 14, 2016. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Morales promised a pact to fight corruption

Guatemalan former TV comedian Jimmy Morales has been inaugurated as the country's new president.

He was elected in October after huge anti-corruption demonstrations that led to the prosecution of a former president and vice-president.

Mr Morales has no previous experience in government. In his inaugural address, he promised to fight against corruption.

US Vice-President Joe Biden attended the ceremony.

It was the first time in 30 years that such a high-ranking American official was present at a Guatemalan inauguration.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Morales praised the anti-corruption movement and said Guatemala was going through a "renaissance".

He also promised money for health and education. "We want quality education for everyone, which prepares our children for a modern technical world."

His critics said President Morales gave few clues as to how he was going to fight corruption and how he was going to deal with Guatemala's high levels of violence, poverty and social inequality.

Last week legal proceedings began against an aide to Mr Morales who is suspected of human rights abuses related to Guatemala's long and bloody armed conflict which ended in 1996.

Fourteen former military officers - many supporters of Mr Morales's party - were arrested on similar charges.

Mr Morales has denied links to the former military officials.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption US Vice-President Joe Biden (C) was one of the guests at the inauguration ceremony

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