Guatemala's Constitutional Court overnight Tuesday upheld a supreme court ruling that barred former first lady Sandra Torres from running as a presidential candidate in upcoming elections.
Torres, who divorced Guatemala's current president in an attempt to circumvent a nepotism law, has now exhausted her appeals.
The seven justices voted unanimously that Torres was not eligible to be on the ballot because close relatives of the president are constitutionally barred from running. Three of the judges had additional arguments for the decision.
Torres filed for divorce from President Alvaro Colom on March 11; the divorce was finalized in April.
The country's supreme court last month ruled that the divorce was used to avoid the constitutional prohibition, and that in trying to get around the law, Torres committed fraud. She appealed to the Constitutional Court, which has final say in all constitutional matters.
The Constitutional Court said that indeed Torres was a close relative of the president and was not eligible to run, but it dissented from the supreme court by rejecting that legal fraud had occurred.
The judges held an 11 p.m. (1 a.m. ET Tuesday) news conference to announce the decision. The 60-page decision would be delivered to all the interested parties within 24 hours, and would also be made available to the public, the judges said.
Followers of Torres, who were gathered outside of the court, retreated from the area after the ruling without incident, the state-run AGN news agency reported, although there was noticeable sadness, including tears.
There was no immediate response from the coalition that supports Torres' candidacy.
In her statement before the Constitutional Court last week, Torres accused the supreme court of having politicized justice. More than 1.7 million Guatemalans had signed a petition saying they wanted her as a candidate, she said, arguing that the people's voice should be heard.
"Democracy is built with more democracy," she told the judges.
In her argument she reiterated that she was "not married to anyone" and suggested that there was discrimination against her because of her gender.
Torres, 55, is a former businesswoman and clothing exporter.