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Menchu in Guatemala presidency race
Nobel laureate announces her candidacy for presidential election in September.
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2007 05:08 GMT
Rigoberta Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1992 [AP]


Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu has announced that she will run for the presidency of Guatemala in the country's September election, a move likely to further fuel talk about an Indian resurgence in Latin American politics.
 
Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, sparked talk of an Indian resurgence after he won the presidency in 2005.
Menchu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 as a lifetime award "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples".

Menchu said she reached an agreement with the smaller Encounter For Guatemala Party, which still must formally ratify her nomination at a March 22 assembly.

 

"I have accepted the presidential candidacy for 2007, and we expect to bring hope to Guatemala," Menchu told reporters following a meeting with Nineth Montenegro, leader of the Encounter Party. "We are immediately going to begin to unite the two teams."

 

Racial divide

 

Earlier this month Menchu said she was forming an Indian-led political movement with an eye towards a possible presidential bid.

 

Guatemala's Indian majority were among the main victims of the country's 1960-1996 civil war, in which over 200,000 people, mainly civilians, died.

 

Menchu said she would not consider running for, or in alliance with, the political party formed by former guerrillas who fought in the civil war.

 

The country has long been split along racial lines, with a largely white elite and an impoverished Indian majority.

 

If elected, she would become the second Nobel laureate serving as president in Central America. Oscar Arias, who won the Nobel Peace Price in 1997, took office as Costa Rica's president in May.

Source:
Agencies
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