Sat. May 25th, 2024

Guatemala President Bernardo Arevalo proposed on Sunday legal reforms that would allow the removal of the country’s top prosecutor, who he accuses of plotting to oust him.

Attorney general Consuelo Porras, who is under US and EU sanctions for corruption, was appointed by Arevalo’s predecessor and led efforts to have the newcomer’s election victory overturned.

Her mandate runs until May 2026, and Arevalo cannot legally fire her without showing just cause under the current law.

“I have decided to present to the Congress of the Republic an initiative to reform the organic law of the Attorney General’s Office, which will open the way for the attorney general to be accountable… and be removed from her position,” Arevalo said in a televised statement.

“The dark cycle of Consuelo Porras must end now,” he added.

“As president of the republic, directly elected by the people with an explicit mandate to fight for transparency and combat corruption, I cannot tolerate that this injustice continues.”

The president said his reform would ensure that “the Attorney General’s Office is not used again as a political weapon by any government”, preserves its autonomy and works efficiently.

Arevalo, who is supported by Washington and the EU, will present the reforms to the opposition-majority Congress on Monday, according to his office.

Porras has headed the prosecutor’s office since 2018 and has rejected repeated requests from Arevalo to hand in her resignation.

Former lawmaker, diplomat and sociologist Arevalo, 65, won the presidency with a large majority on a promise to fight corruption.

He took office in January after what he termed an attempted coup d’etat by prosecutors closely aligned with the country’s entrenched political and economic ruling class.

His Semilla (Seed) party also had its registration suspended on fraud allegations widely seen as trumped up.

His government asked the Supreme Court in February to revoke Porras’s immunity from prosecution for alleged breach of duties.

The court has yet to rule in that case.

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