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  • President Jimmy Morales

    President Jimmy Morales | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 September 2017

Social organizations have attacked the decision as a vote in favor of fraud.

The Guatemalan Congress has voted to uphold President Jimmy Morales’ presidential immunity after he was accused of hiding his election campaign fund sources.

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In the session of Congress, 104 voted against lifting the president’s immunity, 25 voted in favor and 29 abstained.

Social organizations have attacked the decision as a vote in favor of fraud.

Of the 158 congressional seats, 105 votes were needed to lift the president's immunity, which would have forced his resignation if he faced prosecution.

On Friday, Prosecutor Jose Curruchiche, from the Public Ministry's office on Electoral Crimes, and attorney Luis Orozco, from the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, formally presented their accusations against Morales

"A Jimmy Morales piñata is burned outside Congress."

Curruchiche provided evidence that the National Convergence Front party received and concealed over US$919,000 during Morales' 2015 election campaign, when Morales was the party's secretary general.

But they could not confirm if the money was personally collected by Morales; Curruchiche said there were “indications” that he had, while Orozco said the investigation was only beginning.

Large demonstrations demanding Morales' resignation have taken place in recent weeks, with anger growing after Morales' attempt to quash a series of investigations by the Cicig as well as remove the U.N. anti-corruption body's chief, Ivan Velasquez.

Morales said in a statement that he has always respected the rule of law and the separation of powers between different branches of government.

He has denied any wrongdoing in the campaign finance scandal that has tarred all of the country’s top parties.

Guatemalans protest for Morales' prosecution. | Photo: EFE 

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