Supreme Court, congress, and protesters move against Guatemalan President Perez Molina

Sonia Perez and Peter Orsi bring us up-to-date on developments in Guatemala for the AP with Guatemala protesters turn the heat up for president following graft scandals, VP’s resignation.

Friday will see a key moment for Perez Molina’s future, when lawmakers name a commission to consider whether to take up the issue of his constitutional immunity from prosecution. Lifting it could lead to the equivalent of impeachment proceedings.

The president, a 64-year-old retired general, took office in 2012 promising an “iron-fist” crackdown on crime and impunity, but a recent poll by the newspaper Prensa Libre put his approval rate at just 38 percent.

Ahead of September elections to choose his successor, protesters are setting their sights on deep reforms to a system where corruption is seen as the norm.

They’re also targeting a political class symbolized by presidential front-runner Manuel Baldizon, who lost four years ago to Perez Molina and has the campaign slogan “It’s Baldizon’s turn.” Guatemala’s last five presidential elections were won by the runner up in the previous campaign.

“Baldizon, it’s not your turn!” the protesters shout.

You can find some quotes from me at the end of the article. When I spoke to Peter last week, I thought that there was a good chance that President Otto Perez Molina would be able to finish out his term. However, I thought that we’d have a better sense after the Supreme Court moved on the issue of removing the President’s immunity, which they did on Wednesday (Congress is forming a commission today), and how many people turned out for the next protest, which is tomorrow.

Perez has remained defiant – he has no intention of stepping down from the presidency. The congressional committee and the number people in the street will go a long way towards proving him right…or wrong.