Sunday, August 7, 2011

Guatemalan 2011 Presidential Elections: The year for women to run on men's coattails?

Guatemalan presidential elections are coming up this September 11, 2011. As always, there's a lot of speculation, mudslinging and political campaigning. With Guatemala, however, there's also the sinister addition of murders with every election campaign. According to The Guatemala Times, the first murder of the season occurred this January 2011.

Aside from the sadly normal political proceedings for Guatemala, it seems this is the year for women to run for presidency as a liaison for a man who is not eligible.

Of course, much of the news lately has been concerning The First Lady Sandra Colom, wife of current President Alvaro Colom. Or ex-wife? Since she was legally barred from running according to the Guatemalan Constitution that bars presidential family members from running, she filed for a divorce from president Colom. However, the The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala voted her down with an overwhelming majority. This sparked protests that stopped up the capital's traffic for a day, but their only plan at the moment is to appeal.

Guatemalan Politics: The Popular Struggle for Democracy

Sandra is not the only woman trying to run for presidency after her husband. The GuateFriends blog writes:

"Mayor of Guatemala City, Alvaro Arzu, ex-president of Guatemala. Article 186 of the Guatemalan Constitution states that the person who has been president by democratic elections or coup d'état, can not be eligible as presidential candidate. His decision to run for the presidency caused alarm in the right wing sectors of Guatemala. After a “no” answer to his inquiries at the Guatemalan Congress to legitimize his candidacy, Alvaro Arzu has now decided to promote his wife Patricia de Arzu as the presidential candidate of his party. The PR campaign is up and running, the picture shows Patricia de Arzu alone now (a week before it was the couple) with a slogan of kindness and order."

Who knows how they will try to circumvent the law.

Guatemalan Politics The Popular Struggle for Democracy (1993 publication)

In addition to Sandra de Colom and Patricia de Arzu, there is Zury Mayté Ríos Montt Sosa de Weller. The Guatemala Times reports:

"Parliamentarian, Zury Mayté Ríos Montt Sosa de Weller is the daughter of ex- military dictator Efrain Rios Montt. She was proclaimed the official candidate for president of the FRG party in October 2010. She is legally barred as a candidate according to the Guatemalan Constitution that bars presidential family members from running."

These are not the only women running for president. Also running are Rigoberta Menchú, Adela Torrebiarte, and apparently someone with the surname Montenegro. I can't find information on all of the women who are supposedly running, but I find it interesting that The Central American Blog says:

"Virgilio Alvarez from FLACSO divides the women into two divisions. Those who have used their personality and work ethic to make a name for themselves (Menchu, Torrebiarte, and Montenegro) and those who are riding the coattails of men (Baldetti, Torres, Rios, and Arzú)." (My words in parenthesis.)

If a woman is to win, may it be one who won it honestly and fairly.

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