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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 03:33 GMT
Menchu seeks Guatemala presidency
Rigoberta Menchu launching her Winaq movement
Menchu launched her Winaq movement earlier this month
Indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu says she will run for president in Guatemala's elections this September.

Ms Menchu will stand for a coalition of the indigenous party Winaq, which she founded earlier this month, and the left-wing Encounter for Guatemala.

If elected, she will become the first president from Guatemala's indigenous Maya community.

Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her work in defence of indigenous rights.

We are two women who share ideas and have extraordinary teams
Rigoberta Menchu

She drew attention to abuses during the Guatemalan civil war during which her parents were murdered by the Guatemalan army.

She has since led a campaign for Guatemala's former military rulers to be put on trial.

Looking for change

Rigoberta Menchu, 48, made her announcement after talks with Nineth Montenegro, who heads Encounter for Guatemala.

"We are two women who share ideas and have extraordinary teams," said Ms Menchu.

For her part, Ms Montenegro said that her colleague's candidacy was the start of "a successful process that will change the country".

Winaq is a Mayan word meaning "the wholeness of the human being".

If Rigaberta Menchu were to win, she would be the first woman to hold the office, as well as the first Maya president.

More than half of Guatemala's 13 million inhabitants are descendants of the Mayans.

Rigoberta Menchu: Profile
22 Feb 07 |  Americas
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Country profile: Guatemala
16 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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