Court: Guatemala ex-first lady can't run for pres

Associated Press
Supporters of Guatemala's former first lady Sandra Torres react after hearing about the rejection of their presidential candidate by the Contitutional Court in Guatemala City, Monday Aug. 8, 2011. Torres, who wanted to run for president, recently divorced her husband President Alvaro Colom because Guatemalan law forbids close relatives of the president from running for office. A court's decision on July 12 upheld a lower-court ruling that the presidential couple's divorce was a ruse aimed at getting around the law. Torres' last legal recourse is to appeal to the country's highest court to allow her on the Sept. 12 ballot. Guatemala's Constitutional Court is the final court of appeal. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The former Guatemalan first lady's bid to succeed her ex-husband came to an end late Monday when the constitutional court ruled her ineligible to run because of her relationship to the president.

Sandra Torres divorced President Alvaro Colom in the spring just after she announced her bid as the candidate of the ruling National Unity for Hope party in the Sept. 11 national elections.

Court President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre said her candidacy still violates a constitutional ban on relatives of the chief executive running for the office because she was his wife for most of his term. Torres had appealed earlier decisions by election officials and lower courts that banned her candidacy.

Maldonado noted late Monday that the constitutional court decision was unanimous and final. Several women supporters of Torres cried outside the court when they heard the decision over the radio.

There was no immediate comment from Torres.

The ruling avoided the question of whether she committed fraud when she divorced Colom in March.

Colom is not eligible for re-election. Polls favor retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina of the Patriotic Party in the race.

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