Photo: New Guatemala President Gen. Otto Perez Molina
Retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina was sworn in as the new president of Guatemala for a period of four years (2012-2016) before nine heads of state and representatives of some 98 international delegations.
Congressional speaker Gudy Rivera, a friend of Perez Molina and a fellow Patriotic Party member, administered the oath of office to the new president, who at the ceremony was accompanied by his wife, Rosa Leal de Perez, and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti.
Perez Molina, winner of the November presidential elections representing the right-wing Patriotic Party, or PP, founded in 2000, after concluding a 30-year career in the army, replaced social democrat Alvaro Colom, who concluded Saturday the 4-year term for which he was elected in 2007.
The nation’s new first lady, Rosa Leal de Perez, held a copy of the Political Constitution of Guatemala, on which Perez Molina swore loyalty and fulfillment of his duties as president.
“In the name of the Congress of the Republic and the people of Guatemala, legally, legitimately and solemnly I bestow on you possession of the post of president of the Republic of Guatemala for the 2012-2016 constitutional term,” Rivera said.
After the inauguration, Rivera placed the presidential sash on the new head of state, the final touch accrediting Perez Molina as president of the republic, and handed him the military staff with which he received the rank of commander general of the army.
The new president, who has vowed to crack down on the criminal groups terrorizing this Central American country and relieve the poverty afflicting more than half of its 14.7 million inhabitants, wore a dark suit, white shirt and a light blue tie, all by Italian fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo.
Meanwhile Baldetti, the first woman to become vice president of Guatemala, was dressed in a black Chanel suit with white accents, a pearl necklace and matching earrings.
Attending the inaugural ceremony, held at a sports center on the south side of the Guatemalan capital, were Presidents Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, Michel Martelly of Haiti, Mauricio Funes of El Salvador and Porfirio Lobo of Honduras.
Other heads of state on hand were Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, Felipe Calderon of Mexico, the Nicaraguan Daniel Ortega and Desire Delano Bouterse from Surinam, as well as the prime minister of Georgia, Mijail Saakashvil, and Prince Felipe de Borbon, heir to the Spanish crown.