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Guatemala electoral tribunal denies former first lady’s presidential bid

June 30, 2011

Guatemala’s Supreme Elections Tribunal disqualified former First Lady Sandra Torres’  bid for the presidency Wednesday, a lawmaker and supporter said.

Deputy Christian Boussinot said the court notified the parties in the case, which stemmed from a challenge saying Torres’ divorce from Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom was an effort to circumvent legal obstacles to her candidacy.

The Constitution prohibits the spouse and other relatives of the outgoing president to run for the presidency.

Torres said earlier this year she was divorcing despite her love for her husband.

“The love for Guatemala is the reason why the president and I put the interests of the country ahead of our own interests,” the 52-year-old said at the time.

“I am neither the first nor the last woman to divorce in this country, but the first to be divorced for Guatemala.”

The decision to divorce sparked allegations of fraud and a wave of criticism against the outgoing first lady, widely viewed as the power behind the Colom presidency.

Boussinot acknowledged that Colom’s ruling National Unity of Hope party lacked a viable candidate to stand in the September 11 elections.

“We do not have a Plan B,” he said, noting the party’s executive committee planned to appeal the ruling.

Torres and Colom were married for eight years before divorcing earlier this year.

More than seven million Guatemalans are eligible to vote in the September 11 elections. A new president, vice president, 158 deputies, 333 mayors and 20 representatives to the Central American Parliament will all be elected.

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