Guatemala Congress repeals bill that cut campaign penalties

Guatemalan lawmakers has repealed a recently passed bill that reduced the punishment for illegal campaign financing and set off a storm among government opponents who called it a major reversal in the fight against impunity.

The reforms to the penal code approved by Congress on Wednesday were overturned with the support of 130 of 158 deputies on Friday. The repealed legislation lowered sentences for campaign financing crimes from 12 to 10 years and said that 10-year sentences could commuted by paying a fine.

Prosecutors and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala have accused President Jimmy Morales of illicit financing in the election that brought him to power in 2016, and thousands of Guatemalans had protested the bill, saying it was to protect impunity and corruption.