Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom and his wife Sandra Torres (photo, from aljazeera.net) have filed for divorce after eight years of marriage so she can stand for presidential election in September, a court official said.
The Guatemalan constitution bans close blood relatives of the president and those of “second level of affinity” from running for office.
Officials said that the aim of the divorce is to avoid a constitutional flap over Ms Torres’ eligibility to run for office.
Edwin Escobar, spokesperson for the judiciary, said divorce proceedings began on Monday. He added that the divorce papers were filed on March 11 in family court.
The divorce could be final in about a month if both parties agree.
‘Mock the law’
President Colom took office in 2008 and cannot run for re-election.
Earlier this month his wife announced that she will be the presidential candidate of the governing National Unity for Hope (UNE) party.
The divorce was called a “fraud” by Otto Perez Molina, the main right-wing opposition candidate, in a statement released to the newspaper Prensa Libre. “We will not allow them to mock the law with this move,” Mr Molina said.
The divorce papers indicated a mutual desire for separation. They came despite earlier comments from the president that his wife was eligible to run and that divorce was not an option.
When announcing her candidacy, Ms Torres said she decided to run “for the people, for my country, for the elderly, children, disabled, abandoned, orphaned, for all the needy in Guatemala”.