Mexico’s PAN Picks Female Presidential Candidate, PRI Accuses PAN of Cartel Dealings
February 24, 2012
By: Rebecca Aaberg| Printer Friendly
The Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party or PAN) in Mexico selected Josefina Vázquez Mota as the first female candidate for president from a major political party on February 5. TeleSUR reported that Vázquez received 60 percent of the primary vote. Mexican President Felipe Calderón had supported former finance minister Ernesto Cordero, who received 38.1 percent of the vote. In order to win the PAN nomination, candidates must win at least 37 percent of the total vote and at least five percent more votes than the second place candidate. Vázquez, trained as an economist, served Calderón as the Secretary of Public Education and Social Development. When the results of the primary were announced, Vázquez addressed party members: “With the pride of being a woman of PAN, tonight I arrive to thank all Panistas of Mexico for their votes… I assume an enormous responsibility and challenge.”
While women from minority parties have run for president, Vázquez will be the first female candidate from the three major political parties. According to BBC, Vázquez is currently behind Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Revolutionary Institutional Party or PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the polls. The PRI controlled Mexico until 2000 when it lost to the PAN party, now in power. The left-wing Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD) candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who narrowly lost to Calderón in the 2000 election, is currently in third. Parties can officially register candidates for the presidential election from March 15 to 22.
The PRI has accused the PAN of participating in a probe into payments made to PRI members by a Mexican drug cartel, or transnational criminal organization (TCO), for political reasons. On February 11, Voice of America (VOA) reported that several PRI members were arrested for involvement in payments totaling $4.5 million. Tomás Yarrintgon, who was the governor of Tamaulipas state from 1999 to 2004, must answer for the evidence brought against him by US drug agents in the US District Court in San Antonio, Texas. Since coming to office, Calderón has deployed thousands of troops to combat rising levels of violence tied to TCOs. More than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Calderón “declared a crackdown on cartels in late 2006,” CNN reported. With the election in just a few months, PAN now have “fresh ammunition against the PRI,” VOA reported.
The Mexican presidential elections will take place on July 1 for the 2012 to 2018 presidential term.
For previous news on Mexico, please see:
Mexico’s Presidential Election Results Contested
BBC – Mexico Party Selects First Woman Presidential Candidate
CNN – Travel warning: Violence spreading in Mexico
TeleSUR – México: Josefina Vázquez fue elegida candidate presidencial del oficialista PAN
TeleSUR - México definió candidatos a los próximos comicios presidenciales
Voice of America – Mexico Cartels Paid Millions for Political Favors