Guatemala rights official elected

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The Independent Online
Ramiro de Leon Carpio, 51, Guatemala's human rights prosecutor, was sworn in as president early yesterday and pledged to rebuild democracy, five days after the army deposed the president, Jorge Serrano, in a bloodless palace coup, Reuter reports from Guatemala City.

Congress voted almost unanimously for Mr De Leon after his only rival, Arturo Herbruger, president of the electoral tribunal, withdrew. 'I am a democrat who will fight for liberty, but more than anything I will not tolerate violence or injustice,' said Mr De Leon Carpio, who had been placed under house arrest on 25 May after Mr Serrano seized emerency powers.

In Washington, the White House welcomed his election with cautious optimism. 'We are tentatively encouraged by the restoration of democracy and civilian rule in Guatemala,' a spokesman said.