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Worldcrunch

Game Changer? Surprise Female Candidate Emerges In Mexico's Presidential Race

Op-Ed: The governing PAN made history last weekend by becoming the first major Mexican party to select a female presidential candidate. Although PAN trails in the polls, Josefina Vzquez Mota a conservative deputy could certainly shake things up ahead of the July vote.

Article illustrative image Partner logo Mexican presidential candidate Josefina Vzquez Mota.

With less than five months to go before Mexicos next presidential election, the governing PAN party has finally chosen a candidate: Josefina Vzquez Mota. The choice is as historic as it was surprising. Historic because the conservative deputy is the countrys first major party female candidate, and surprising because most pundits expected PAN to choose Ernesto Cordero instead.

Cordero, a former finance minister, was widely hailed as President Felipe Calderns personal preference. He also had the backing of numerous state governors. And yet when it came time for PAN members to cast their votes, a majority chose Vzquez Mota over Cordero and Santiago Creel, the partys third potential candidate.

Should this then be seen as a defeat for President Caldern? Not so fast theres more here than meets the eye. Its true that Caldern threw his weight behind Cordero. What was less obvious, however, was that he also maneuvered on behalf of Vzquez Mota. In reality, he played both cards like a pro, so that no matter how things transpired, President Caldern could be seen as a winner.

Despite all the public support he offered Ernesto Cordero, Caldern didnt end up pushing things as far as he could have. It may have cost him politically, but the president could have used his considerable influence to insist PAN choose the finance minister. Indeed, he was also quietly pressuring the powers that be in PAN to back Vzquez Mota.

A mark of democracy 

Things couldnt have worked out better for Vzquez Mota, who not only secured the nomination, but goes into the election as an unexpectedly legitimate candidate. Even though party leaders rallied behind Cordero, and even though there were widespread reports of election tampering (in favor of Cordero), Vzquez Mota still won.

The democratic process, in other words, worked which looks great for PAN, since it was the only Mexican party to put its candidate selection process to a vote. PANs rival parties the centrist PRI and left-wing PRD chose their candidates behind closed doors.

PANs task now is to mend its internal divisions and present a unified front against the PRIs Enrique Pea Nieto, the favorite to win the July 1 election. Once Vzquez Mota is formally ratified as the PAN candidate, she has a real chance of shaking up the polls, of closing the gap with Pea Nieto and putting some distance between herself and the PRD candidate, former Mexico City Mayor Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador.

What Vzquez Mota offeres voters, above all else, is the chance to elect the countrys first female president. Could she really win it? The race has really just begun and, as we've just seen, anything is possible.

Read the original article in Spanish

Photo - Wikipedia

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About this article source Website: http://www.americaeconomia.com/

America Economi­a is Latin America's leading business magazine, founded in 1986 by Elias Selman and Nils Strandberg. Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, it features a region-wide monthly edition and regularly updated articles online, as well as country-specific editions in Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.

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