20 May 2011

Ex-wife cleared to seek presidency

9:50 am on 20 May 2011

The constitutional court of Guatemala has quashed all legal challenges to the divorce of the First Lady Sandra Torres and President Alvaro Colom.

The BBC reports Ms Torres is now in theory free to run in the next election in September to succeed her ex-husband as president.

The couple filed for divorce in March to overcome a constitutional ban on close relatives of the president running for office.

The opposition says the divorce is a cynical political ploy.

Barring a further challenge from the opposition, approval of Ms Torres as a presidential candidate is expected to be a formality.

Ms Torres is Mr Colom's third wife. They had been married for eight years. A family court approved their divorce in April and the couple has since lived apart.

The BBC reports Ms Torres has played a prominent role in Alvaro Colom's presidency, supervising the government's poverty relief programmes.

If elected, she will be Guatemala's first female president.