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First Woman Candidate for President in Mexico

February 9, 2012
Plain English Version

The National Action Party nominated the first woman candidate for president of Mexico. Josefina Vázquezá Mota will be on the ballot in the July 1, 2012 election. She is an economist and former education secretary.

Women are playing a more important role in Latin American countries. Brazil, Argentina and Chile have had women presidents.

She is from the same party as President Felipe Cálderon, who cannot run again.

The number of women in elective office in Mexico is increasing. In the lower chamber of the national legislature, 148 women are in office compared with 116 five years ago. In the upper chamber, the Senate, 29 women are in office compared to 22 in 2006. Five women have been elected state governors.

Will the gender of the candidate make a difference? She is not running as a feminist. She wants to be seen as a maternal figure who believes in traditional values. An analyst said, “she certainly will not support reproductive rights, and she is unlikely to make issues like wage parity, social services and antidiscrimination major objectives for her administration.”

She faces powerful opponents.

Enrique Peña Nieto, the former governor of Mexico State, is the candidate of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI. The party ruled Mexico with an autocratic hand for more than 70 years before losing the presidential election in 2000.

The other opponent is Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party. He is a former Mexico City mayor. He has many supporters from his narrow loss in 2006 to President Felipe Calderón.

The campaign of Vázquezá Mota will focus on keeping the PRI out of office. She claims the party is corrupt.

The success of the war on drugs and the economy will be big issues in the campaign.

The New York Times


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