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This country's new president is an actor who once played a moron who ran for president

So meta.

Guatemala New President Guatemala's newly-elected president Jimmy Morales. Source: Associated Press

A FORMER TV comic elected Guatemala’s new president on a wave of public revulsion against corruption, took office this week in a ceremony attended by leaders from the Americas.

Invitees to the swearing-in of Jimmy Morales included US Vice President Joe Biden, and the presidents of Mexico, Ecuador and most Central American nations. Spain’s former king Juan Carlos also attended.

“Not tolerating corruption or theft, that is something we can do and what we are going to do from the first day,” Morales, 46, said as he accepted the presidential sash.

Morales was previously best known for a television role as a country bumpkin who nearly becomes president.

Elections on October 25 elevated him to the office of head of state for real, by a landslide, despite having no political experience beyond an unsuccessful run for municipal office in 2011.

His victory was attributed to widespread public disgust with corruption, especially after his elected predecessor, Otto Perez, was brought down by a major scandal.

Yet his political support is weak, with his conservative party holding just 11 seats in the 158-seat Congress.

Morales has given few concrete indications of how he intends to make good on his vows to fight corruption, or to combat the country’s high murder rate and poverty.

His cabinet was expected to be unveiled hours after the inauguration ceremony, which was delayed more than two hours because of wrangling over its top posts.

Guatemala Presidential Inaguration Source: Associated Press

Ahead of the swearing-in, Biden met with Morales to congratulate him for vowing to fight corruption in his nation of 16 million people. He also stressed that Guatemala should attract more investment to counter emigration.

Guatemala recorded 6,000 murders in 2015, at least half of them blamed on gangs.

Its problems were heightened last year by political instability when protests erupted over a corruption scandal exposing kickbacks to officials in return for lowered customs duties for some companies. That brought about Perez’s downfall in September.

Most Guatemalans view Morales with fondness as a familiar figure from his 15-year television career on a program he produced.

moralestv Jimmy Morales, in his past incarnation. Source: Evelyn Quinonez via YouTube

His brother Sammy Morales who co-produced the show told a web magazine, Nomada, that Jimmy was prepared “academically, emotionally and spiritually” to take on his new role.

According to his official biography, Jimmy Morales, an Evangelical Christian, has a university degree in business administration, a masters in media and communication and another in strategic studies with a specialization in security and defense.

He has been married for two decades to his wife, Gilda Patricia Marroquin, and has three children.

- © AFP 2015

Read: The reign of the “world’s humblest president” ended yesterday>

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