Guatemalan judge approves first lady's divorce

A Guatemalan judge on Friday dismissed a suit seeking to block divorce proceedings by the wife of President Alvaro Colom, clearing the way for her to run for the presidency.

A university group and others had sought to block the divorce because it would allow Colom's wife to get around a constitutional ban on a president's extended family from running for the presidency.

First lady Sandra Torres de Colom filed for divorce March 21 so that she can be the governing party's candidate in September's election to choose a successor for her husband.

Judge Mildred Roca ruled Friday that the divorce proceedings filed by Sandra Torres de Colom can go ahead.

The ruling can be appealed, and opposition activists said they are analyzing their next step.

Jose Luis Portillo, a lawyer for President Colom, called Friday's decision "an entirely legal ruling, in agreement with civil law, family law."

Portillo said the marriage would be dissolved, but it would be up to the couple to decide whether they would continue living together.

Roxana Baldetti, the vice-presidential candidate for the opposition Patriot Party, said opponents were analyzing options and could file appeals to block Colom from registering her candidacy.