POLITICS

Divorced Guatemala First Lady Blocked From Running for Office

Guatemala's first lady Sandra Torres de Colom arrives for a press conference at the headquarters of the governing National Unity for Hope party in Guatemala City, Thursday March 24, 2011.  Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom and Sandra Torres de Colom have filed for divorce after an eight-year-marriage to clear the way for the first lady to run for the presidency. Guatemala's constitution prohibits members of a president's extended family from running for the presidency. Elections will be held in Sept. 2011.  (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Guatemala's first lady Sandra Torres de Colom arrives for a press conference at the headquarters of the governing National Unity for Hope party in Guatemala City, Thursday March 24, 2011. Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom and Sandra Torres de Colom have filed for divorce after an eight-year-marriage to clear the way for the first lady to run for the presidency. Guatemala's constitution prohibits members of a president's extended family from running for the presidency. Elections will be held in Sept. 2011. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)  (AP2010)

Guatemala’s former first lady’s divorce was a ruse to run for office, electoral officials said in deciding that she cannot circumvent a law preventing a chief executive's family members from seeking office.

Electoral officials on Thursday denied Sandra Torres' request to run for president. The head of the country's congress says the officials decided that Torres' separation from President Alvaro Colom was a ruse aimed at finding a loophole in the law.

The congressman is a member of the ruling National Union of Hope party.

Neither the Supreme Electoral Tribunal nor Torres have made an official announcement. Her party says it will appeal the decision.

There are two higher courts that could overturn the decision but time is short: The candidate slate must be set by July 11, two months ahead of the September election.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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