Guatemala’s congress has sworn in a former judge as president while his predecessor has appeared in court over corruption allegations just hours after resigning.
Alejandro Maldonado, a 79-year-old conservative who only became vice president in May, will serve out the rest of Otto Perez Molina’s term, handing over on January 14.
Separately on Thursday, a judge – citing a flight risk – ordered Perez to be held in prison while hearings over his alleged role in a customs-corruption scandal continue.
Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler, reporting from Guatemala City, said the developments show “how fast and how far Perez has fallen. In the meantime, things have been moving very very quickly here.”
The attorney general’s office has said it plans to bring charges against Perez for illicit association, taking bribes and customs fraud, though he has not yet been formally charged. The hearing will continue on Friday.
Guatemala will hold elections on Sunday to choose Perez’s successor, in a climate of widespread outrage over the corruption scandal and broad rejection of the traditional political elite.
Speaking after taking the oath of office, Maldonado, a former judge on the Constitutional Court, said: “The new government must emerge from the need to inspire citizens’ confidence, opening a space in public service for mature and experienced people but also young professionals and social activists.”
Congress had earlier voted unanimously to accept Perez’s resignation, which he submitted just before midnight on Wednesday after politicians stripped him of his presidential immunity.
Source: Al Jazeera