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Guatemala court rejects former first lady’s presidential bid

August 10, 2011

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has rejected a bid by the country’s former first lady to run for president, leaving the ruling party without a candidate.

Sandra Torres, 55, divorced President Álvaro Colom in April in order to sidestep a constitutional prohibition for a president to run for re-election or be succeeded by a member of his own family.

Hundreds of her followers, some of them weeping, were gathered outside the court when the unanimous ruling was handed down late Monday, upholding a June 30 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that disqualified Torres’ candidacy.

All seven members of the Constitutional Court concurred that the constitutional prohibition on a president being succeeded by a member of his family “includes the president’s wife during his entire presidency.”

The ruling National Union for Hope, which had registered Torres as its candidate, was left without a candidate and no way to replace her before Guatemala’s September 11 presidential elections.

Leaders of the ruling coalition appealed to their followers to stay calm, while opposition candidate Adela Torrebiarte of the Action for National Development party hailed the court’s decision as a boost for the rule of law.

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