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Guatemala prosecutors seek to investigate top lawmaker

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan prosecutors are asking the country's courts to withdraw the congressional president's immunity of office so he can be investigated for possible violence, spokeswoman Julia Barreda confirmed Tuesday.

The complaint was filed recently by the secretary of a congressional workers' union that is in a dispute with Mario Taracena, who fired a number of employees. Barreda said a woman whom she declined to identify alleges she was forcibly removed from a public office.

Taracena called the complaint "absurd" and said it was undermining a law punishing violence against women that was used to seek the court hearing. He also said it was a political manoeuvr against him, with lawmakers to consider Tuesday whether he or two other candidates will lead Congress next year.

He has accused several current and former legislators of maintaining "phantom jobs" at Congress for employees who never showed up and made more money than lawmakers.