GUATEMALACITY (Reuters) – Guatemala’s top judicial body said on Monday that it had barred the daughter of former military dictator Efrain Rios Montt from participating in the country’s presidential elections in June.
Guatemala’s Constitutional Court rejected a challenge by Montt’s daughter, right-wing politician Zury Rios, to a lower court’s decision to block her candidacy for the presidency, the court said in a statement.
The court based its decision on an article of the Guatemalan constitution that bars close relatives of the leaders of coups d’etat from serving as president or vice president.
“The measure limiting a close relative from assuming the position of president or vice president of the republic is logical because it prioritizes the common good over individual interest,” the court said.
A lawyer for Rios, who was vying to succeed Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Rios wrote in a post on Twitter that she would respond to the court’s decision in a television interview later on Monday evening.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal will have 24 hours to revoke Rios’ registration, Martin Guzman, the constitutional court’s secretary general, said in a press conference.
The Guatemalan constitution prohibits relatives within four degrees of the architects of coups d’etat, armed revolutions and similar movements from seeking the nation’s top offices, the constitutional court said.
Rios, who had planned to run representing the Valor party, also sought the presidency in 2015. She was among the frontrunners for the presidency but trailed behind Thelma Aldana, the country’s former attorney general, in polls.
Her father, Rios Montt, was convicted in 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity. But barely a week later, judges on the country’s top court overturned the sentence.
Rios Montt, who headed a junta that removed President Angel Guevara from power in 1982, died last year at the age of 91.
(Reporting by Enrique Garcia; writing by Julia Love; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)