Photo: Josefina Vazquez Mota to Run for President in Mexico
Josefina Vazquez Mota was selected as the presidential candidate of Mexico’s governing National Action Party, or PAN, in a primary election held over the weekend.
Vazquez Mota, a former social development secretary and education secretary, won Sunday’s election by a wide margin over rivals Ernesto Cordero and Santiago Creel, PAN officials said.
Vazquez Mota garnered 54.6 percent of the vote, while Cordero got 38.4 percent and Creel received 6 percent, with 89 percent of the ballots counted, PAN chairman Gustavo Madero said.
Some 1.8 million PAN members were eligible to vote in the primary election.
Vazquez Mota, an economist, businesswoman and politician, is aiming to become Mexico’s first female president.
She will face Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto and former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the candidate of a leftist coalition, in the July 1 general elections.
The PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, is trying to regain the presidency after two straight losses to the conservative PAN.
Vazquez Mota will be “Mexico’s first female president,” Madero said during an appearance with the candidate and her two rivlas at PAN headquarters.
The candidate wasted little time taking aim at Peña Nieto, who is leading in the polls among likely voters.
The primary election opens “the path to defeat the real adversary of Mexico,” Vazquez Mota said, referring to the PRI candidate.
Peña Nieto represents “a return to systemic corruption and impunity,” Vazquez Mota said.
The PAN candidate, however, did not mention Lopez Obrador, who is running third in the polls.
“The time has come to close a chapter and open another. To build the most powerful campaign team,” Vazquez Mota told hundreds of supporters gathered at PAN headquarters.
“This is the time for unity, the time to come together,” Vazquez Mota said.
Vazquez Mota has vowed to fight corruption, calling for life prison terms “for politicians who cut deals with organized crime groups.”
She has also proposed expanding scholarship programs and reforming the labor code to add 400,000 people annually to the formal labor market.
In 2000, Vazquez Mota became the first woman to head the Social Development Secretariat, and she served as education secretary from 2006 to 2009.
Some 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote for a new president, 628 legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections.