Fraud-accused Guatemalan president quits

  • 03/09/2015
Guatemalan President Otto Perez (Reuters)
Guatemalan President Otto Perez (Reuters)

Guatemalan President Otto Perez says he is resigning, after congress stripped him of immunity over corruption allegations and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The embattled conservative leader, in power since 2012, took the decision to step down to confront "individually the proceedings against him", his spokesman Jorge Ortega said on Thursday (local time), hours after the arrest warrant was issued.

New Vice President Alejandro Maldonado is due to assume power, ahead of a general election on Sunday, during which voters will choose a new president to take office in 2016.

Perez is accused of masterminding a huge fraud scheme, known as "La Linea" (The Line), a scandal that has already forced his former vice president to step aside.

Six of his 14 ministers have resigned in recent days, along with several other top officials.

Perez is expected to appear before a judge on Thursday and has reportedly agreed to co-operate with the investigation.

The 64-year-old was stripped of his immunity on Tuesday by congress, an unprecedented step that was welcomed by many protesters.