Guatemala first lady announces presidential bidMarch 9th, 2011 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS
Guatemala City, March 9 (IANS/EFE) Guatemala’s first lady Sandra Torres has announced that she will run for president in September’s general elections, though the country’s constitution bars close relations of the head of state from seeking the highest office.
“I come to announce my decision to compete as presidential candidate for the UNE party and the Great National Alliance,” said the wife of President Alvaro Colom during a rally Tuesday in a poor neighbourhood on the capital’s west side.
Torres said that her decision comes as a response to the “popular clamour” voiced by a number of mayors and neighbourhood associations that have benefited from the poverty-fighting programmes she leads in an agency of her husband’s administration.
“My commitment is to create jobs and progress for all. To seek economic development with social inclusion. To dedicate myself to the fight against crime, drug trafficking, street gangs and organized crime,” the first lady said.
She did not explain how she would resolve the apparent constitutional ban on her candidacy.
Article 186 of the Guatemalan constitution bars family members of a governing head of state to the fourth degree of consanguinity and to the second degree of affinity from running for president.
Sources in the ruling party told EFE that to overcome that obstacle, the first lady and the president could get divorced by mutual consent.
Since the beginning of the Colom administration in January 2008, his wife has directed the Social Cohesion Council, responsible for promoting a series of programmes to fight poverty, which has won her an enthusiastic following among the benefited communities.
Polls show retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, candidate of the right-wing Patriot Party, leading in voter preference with 42.9 percent, followed by Torres with 11.1 percent.
Guatemalans are scheduled to go to the polls in September to choose a president and vice president, 158 members of Congress and 333 mayors.
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Tags: clamour, close relations, colom, consanguinity, constitutional ban, drug trafficking, general elections, guatemala city, guatemalans, lady sandra, members of congress, mutual consent, neighbourhood associations, patriot party, perez molina, sandra torres, social cohesion, social inclusion, street gangs, voter preference