Guatemala lawmakers again vote not to lift Morales' immunity

Protesters raise a black Guatemalan flag in Constitution Plaza as they demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales in Guatemala City, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Thousands of Guatemalans took the streets of the capital and marched peacefully against political corruption and against approved legislation reducing the punishment for campaign-finance crimes. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)
Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales addresses the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan lawmakers have voted for a second time in two weeks against stripping President Jimmy Morales of his immunity so that prosecutors could pursue a campaign finance investigation.

This time the votes in favor of lifting his immunity reached 70, 45 more than the last vote, but still well short of the 105 required.

The vote followed massive street protests calling for the resignation of Morales and legislators.

The government said in a statement Thursday that the vote should be understood within the context of the separation of powers.

Prosecutors say they found $825,000 of hidden expenditures and additional unexplained financing from Morales' 2015 campaign.

Last month, Guatemala's chief prosecutor and the U.N. anti-corruption commission chief requested that Morales' immunity be lifted. Morales then tried to expel the commission's chief.

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