Despite Divorce, Guatemala's First Lady Can't Run for President


Mixing politics and divorce never seems like a great idea, but family attorneys in Pasadena thought maybe Guatemalan First Lady Sandra Torres had figured out a way to make it work. The headline-grabbing wife of former president Alvaro Colom ditched her husband a few months back in hopes of giving her a shot at becoming president herself. Yet despite the divorce and playing by the rules, Guatemalan authorities ruled this week that Torres was ineligible to run for political office.

Torres underwent a quickie divorce from Colom on the heels of her shocking announcement for her bid for the National Unity for Hope party in this fall's upcoming elections. Court President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre said on Monday that Torres' candidacy is in violation of the constitutional ban on relatives of the chief executive running for president because she was his wife for the majority of his term. Torres had appealed earlier rulings to keep her out of the presidential race. Maldonado noted that the decision was unanimous and final. Women voters who supported Torres in her campaign were seen crying and protesting outside the court as they heard the decision on the radio.

The ruling made no mention of whether Torres committed fraud when she divorced Colom to run for president. Eyebrows were raised and the case was launched after electoral officials said that her divorce was a "ruse to run for office" and that she only divorced Colom to comply with the national law. Colom himself is not eligible for reelection and current polls favor retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina of the Patriotic Party in the race for president. Elections will be held nationwide in Guatemala on September 11, 2011.