President Otto Pérez Molina’s resignation occurred just hours after an arrest warrant was issued against him. Prosecutors accuse Pérez Molina, who assumed office in 2012, of heading a scheme known as La Linea, or "The Line," where businesspeople are believed to have paid bribes to evade import duties through customs.
Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who resigned May 8, has been jailed in connection to the customs fraud case. As such, Vice President Alejandro Maldonado will serve out the rest of Pérez Molina’s term, which ends on January 14.
Spokesman Jorge Ortega told reporters that Pérez Molina, who says he is innocent, submitted his resignation "to maintain the institution of the presidency and resolve on his own the legal proceedings leveled against him."
The Guatemalan Congress is expected to convene on Thursday to accept Pérez Molina’s resignation and name Maldonado the new interim president.
Pérez Molina’s departure marks the first in the country’s history.