Politics

Guatemalan President to Divorce Wife So She Can Run

| by Alex Groberman

Guatamalan President Alvaro Colom will divorce his wife Sandra Torres so that she is eligible to run in September’s presidential elections, according to Supreme Court spokesman Edwin Escobar,

The separation request, by all indications, was filed as “divorce by mutual consent” and done strictly in order to side-step the legal barriers preventing Torres from running for office.

"The request for divorce by mutual consent was presented on March 11" and will be handled by family court Judge Mildred Roca, Supreme Court spokesman Edwin Escobar told reporters.

As long as the court declares that the couple can and will be divorced, Torres should be able to get around the constitutional article that says that the spouse of a president may not run for presidency. That particular section -- article 186 of the Guatemalan Constitution -- denotes that no immediate family (or certain other relatives) of a current president may run for the presidential post.

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Back on March 8, Torres announced that she wished to become a presidential candidate for a coalition of the governing UNE party and the Great National Alliance. She, however, made no mention of how she would avoid the constitutional pitfalls that lay ahead.

Interestingly enough, Colom publicly stated three weeks ago that legal separation from his wife -- so that she could run -- was out of the question.

On Monday morning, while speaking to the media, UNE spokesperson Fernando Barillas also insisted that the news of the divorce between the president and first lady was “an invention” of the opposing side. Further, he stated that Torres had “no legal impediment” to becoming a candidate.

So much for that theory.