Guatemala: A divorce for naught?


Sandra Torres, the wife of Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, during a party assembly on May 8, 2011.


Johan Ordonez

She divorced her husband so she could lead her country.

But now Sandra Torres could end up with neither holy matrimony nor political power.

Guatemala's Supreme Court rejected her presidential candidacy saying it was "legal fraud."

Torres announced her divorce from current President Alvaro Colom in March. The country's constitution prohibits spouses or relatives of the outgoing leader from running for the presidency.

She said 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," she said, according to AFP.

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

Torres and Colom had been married for eight years.

The opposition said the divorce was a political ruse and filed legal charges.

Ruling party leaders said they would appeal the court's decision. If elected, Torres would be Guatemala's first female president.

But even if she can overcome the legal hurdles, Torres still trails the leading conservative candidate, Otto Perez.

A opinion poll shows Perez, a former general, with 42.5 percent support. Torres is in second place with 15.1 percent.

By divorcing her huband, Torres may have turned the country's devout public against her, reports Ezra Fieser:

The divorce was scandalous in a country where churches big and small, Catholic and evangelical, sit on every street of every city and village. The powerful Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the institution of marriage was not negotiable.

The first round is scheduled for Sept. 11. If no one wins more than 50 percent, a run-off will be held in November.

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