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March 27, 2017

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Guatemala top court ends Torres presidential appeal

CIUDAD DE GUATEMALA -- Guatemala's Supreme Court said on Saturday it had rejected an appeal from former first lady Sandra Torres seeking to overturn the court's decision to bar her from running for the presidency this year.

Only one of 13 judges voted in favor of the appeal, court president Luis Archila said during a news conference.

Center-left Union of Hope Party (UNE) hopeful Torres's bid faces the hurdle of a constitutional rule that prevents family members of the president from taking power. To skirt this, she announced in March her divorce from President Alvaro Colom, who by law cannot run for a consecutive term.

Torres is well behind in the polls. If she is barred from running that would nearly guarantee victory for retired general Otto Perez, of the right-wing Patriot Party, in a first round vote on Sept. 11.

Torres is now expected to resort to Guatemala's Constitutional Court, a panel of 12 judges — including the president of the Supreme Court — that reviews complex cases.

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