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Guatemalan Nobel Laureate Launches Presidential Race

Human rights activist and Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchu says she is running for the presidency of Guatemala.

Menchu announced her candidacy Wednesday in Guatemala City. If she wins the September vote, she would be the first woman and first indigenous citizen to serve as president of the Central American nation.

Menchu recently formed an indigenous political party dubbed Winaq. She is joining forces with lawmaker Nineth Montenegro, the founder of the smaller leftist Encounter for Guatemala party.

Menchu won the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of Guatemala's indigenous Mayan majority, who suffered greatly during the country's long and brutal civil war, which left more than 200,000 people dead between 1960 and 1996.

If elected, she would follow in the footsteps of Evo Morales, who became the first indigenous president of Bolivia last year. She would also become the second Nobel Peace laureate to lead a Latin American nation after Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who won the prize in 1987.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.