Guatemala’s former first lady’s divorce was a ruse to run for office, electoral officials said in deciding that she cannot circumvent a law preventing a chief executive's family members from seeking office.

Electoral officials on Thursday denied Sandra Torres' request to run for president. The head of the country's congress says the officials decided that Torres' separation from President Alvaro Colom was a ruse aimed at finding a loophole in the law.

The congressman is a member of the ruling National Union of Hope party.

Neither the Supreme Electoral Tribunal nor Torres have made an official announcement. Her party says it will appeal the decision.

There are two higher courts that could overturn the decision but time is short: The candidate slate must be set by July 11, two months ahead of the September election.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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