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article imageParty of Guatemala's president suspended for unpaid fine

By AFP     Sep 1, 2017 in World

The party of Guatemala's embattled President Jimmy Morales was ordered to suspend administrative functions on Friday after missing a deadline to pay a $60,000 fine for delayed filing of election financing in 2015.

Guatemala's supreme court handed down the suspension against the National Convergence Front, a conservative party that rules with four coalition partners in the country's congress, after it failed to pay the fine by Thursday as required.

The ruling was another blow to Morales after he triggered a storm of domestic and international criticism by this week trying to boot out a UN official investigating him for allegedly failing to declare $1 million in campaign funding to his party for his election in 2015.

Guatemala's top judicial body, the Constitutional Court, overruled Morales on Tuesday.

The UN official, Ivan Velasquez, is now forging on with his work at the head of the International Committee Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which includes requesting Morales' immunity be lifted for the probe to move forward.

The supreme court's suspension of the National Convergence Front means it cannot hold party assemblies until the fine is paid. Nor can it conduct party activities such as signing up new members or opening branch offices.

The CICIG is widely respected in Guatemala. It helped Guatemalan prosecutors investigate a corruption scandal that toppled the previous president, Otto Perez, in 2015, paving the way to the election of Morales, a former TV comic with no previous political experience who campaigned on anti-corruption promises.

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