Guatemala City. On the 8 of March, 20011, Guatemala’s First Lady Sandra Torres de Colon announced her run for the presidency. On March 11, 2011, the presidential couple applied for divorce, the news was published today in the newspaper La Hora. La Hora published the following information: It was confirmed that the presidential couple Alvaro Colom and Sandra Torres de Colom filed for divorce at the Second Family Court. It is a civil enforcement proceeding and thereby it is private. However, the spokesman of the judiciary, Edwin Escobar, confirmed that on 11 of March, 2011, divorce proceedings where presented. Opponents and constitutionalists call this strategy as a joke and immoral.
Escobar did not state the names of lawyers acting on behalf of the Presidential couple; he confirmed that the divorce was applied in terms of mutual consent.
Some hours earlier, Roxanna Baldetti, secretary general and vice-presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party, had warned about the possibility of a divorce process for electoral purposes, since there is a constitutional ban on the president's wife. When asked, Fernando Barillas, spokesman for the National Unity for Hope Party (UNE), denied the divorce process.”
Representatives of the UNE Party stated that they had no comment at this time, but that there would be a press release or a press conference to announce the official party position.
The constitutional lawyer Carlos Molina Mencos said that despite circumventing the constitutional prohibition, the strategy of divorce must be regarded as a "mockery" and "immoral."
The Guatemalan Constitution prohibits relatives of the President to qualify for the candidacy of President. According to Molina Mencos, although technically the divorce evades this ban, the action has no moral and ethics.
Molina Mencos indicates that constitutionally when the divorce is signed, the candidacy of Sandra Torres will be legal. There are four legal requirements: 1) change of address, 2) stop using the surname Colom, 3) complete separation of property, and 4) settlement of marital property.
On the other hand, from the moral point of view, he described the event as “immoral." "No presidency should be worth a marriage, for me, her campaign touched bottom, it is based on an immoral act, meaning that the marriage, the foundation of the family, does not apply to the presidential candidate," says the expert.
Given that marriage is a guarantee of protection for women and family, Molina Mencos believes that whoever does not respect marriage, does not respect any of those principles. "In addition it denigrates the husband, when I need him there I have him, and when he becomes an obstacle I thrown him into the trash” Molina Mencos said.
For her part, Ninth Montenegro, Member of Encuentro por Guatemala, stated that "all I can say is it's amazing where your ambitions to be the next President of this country can lead you, even, to leave her husband. This is not ethical or moral. When she is no longer the wife of the President, it does not mean that it never was his wife. "
Zury Rios, Member of the Guatemalan Republican Front, FRG, Party, stated: "First, it is sad that for the love of power she left the love of her life. One can divorce for many reasons, but for the love of power, is unthinkable. Sandra de Colom has to change her electoral platform, divorced she is no longer eligible for any security service or access to the media, also she has to vacate the presidential palace, and I do not know if the President will leave her a pension. "
(End of free translation of La Hora´s article).
Prensa Libre published this afternoon the comments of ex- general Otto Perez, Presidential candidate of the Patriotic Party, concerning the divorce proceedings of the first couple. He stated that it was a fraud, he said that they where using the law to do something illegal. He explained that this divorce will not eliminate the constitutional ban of relatives of the president to run for the presidency. “The law does not state a time frame of when a person ceases to be a relative of the President.” He stated that they would not allow that the law should be mocked and fraud would be committed.
The members of the new Constitutional Court in Guatemala have been elected. They will take position on April 15, 2011.The legal experts who have followed the election proceedings have serious concerns about the honorability and impartiality of the elected magistrates, there where ominous signs of political pressures of different power sector of Guatemala. Serious concerns exist that the new magistrates elected will be defending the interests of political parties and will not be impartial. The Constitutional Court of Guatemala is the highest legal authority that decides the legitimacy of the presidential candidates and interprets the Guatemalan constitution.
The other presidential candidate whose legitimacy is questioned is Congresswomen Zury Rios Mont, the daughter of ex-general and military dictator Efraín Rios Mont.
Sources: La Hora, Prensa Libre, The Guatemala Times
Photo: Sandra Torres de Colom, First Lady of Guatemala