Alejandro Giammattei Falla, a retired surgeon was sworn in as the new President of Guatemala on Tuesday. According to international media reports, the swearing-in ceremony was attended by six heads of state from Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Ecuador.
The 63-year-old Giammattei became the 11th president of Guatemala since it became a democratic country in 1986. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, Colombian President Ivan Duque and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, attended Giammattei’s swearing-in. Reportedly, the United States also sent a delegation to the ceremony, including acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
The power transfer ceremony was held at the Miguel Angel Asturias National Theatre where Giammattei received the presidential band by the outgoing President, Jimmy Morales. According to reports, Giammattei, in his inauguration speech thanked the people of Guatemala and said that throughout his life he has had to see death head-on and that is how he learned how to serve people. Giammattei also dubbed the previous government as "waste".
Giammattei spoke extensively on his future plans for the country and priorities. The new President said that he would promote the legal initiative to declare criminal gangs operating in the country as "terrorist groups". Apart from that, he also spoke of education reforms and pledged to eradicate malnutrition. Giammattei further said that he must relentlessly strive to deliver a legacy of prosperity and progress within four years. Guatemala is among the 10 most violent countries in the world and 16 per cent of the country's population is poor.
Alejandro Giammattei won the election in the second round of presidential election since no candidate won a majority in the first round held on June 16, 2019. Sandra Torres of National Unity of Hope (UNE) was running against Giammattei as Jimmy Morales of national Convergence Front (FCN) was barred from contesting election for a second four-year term. Giammattei of Vamos won 57.95 per cent of the total vote, while Torres got only 42.05 per cent vote in the election.
(with inputs from agencies)