Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican presidential contender Josefina Vazquez Mota said she’ll seek to boost economic growth to an annual rate of “at least” 6 percent to 7 percent if elected in next July’s vote.
The former education minister with the ruling National Action Party said passing laws that make it easier for companies to hire and fire workers, attracting private investment to Mexico’s state-heavy oil industry and boosting tax collection will stimulate growth in Latin America’s second-biggest economy. That in turn will encourage employers to add the 1 million jobs per year that Mexico requires to relieve poverty.
“Doubling the rate of growth, which we are proposing now, would permit us, if not to totally satisfy the demand for jobs in the formal employment market, then to get much closer to it,” Vazquez Mota, 50, said yesterday in an interview in Mexico City.
Growth over the past decade has averaged just 2 percent and is set to slow to 3.2 percent in 2012 from 3.9 percent this year, according to 26 economists and consulting firms in a central bank survey published Dec. 16. Mexico’s central bank estimates that employers will add no more than 620,000 so-called formal jobs this year and 600,000 in 2012.
While the mounting death toll stemming from President Felipe Calderon’s crackdown on drug cartels has cost his party support across the country, Vazquez Mota is emerging as the main challenger to the early frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
In a three-way race, she enjoyed 20 percent support compared with 16 percent for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who Calderon defeated by a narrow margin in 2006, according to the latest poll by Mexico City-based Consulta Mitofsky. Pena Nieto had 45 percent support among the 1,000 people surveyed Nov. 21- 27 nationwide by Mitofsky. The poll had a margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
First, the only woman seeking the presidency on July 1 must defeat rivals competing for the nomination of Calderon’s party, known as the PAN. Vazquez Mota said she’s confident she’ll win a Feb. 5 primary, citing polls that give her more than 50 percent support from fellow party members.
Vazquez Mota led her nearest PAN competitor, former Senator Santiago Creel, by 17 percentage points in the November poll by Mitofsky.
After serving as education minister, Vazquez Mota headed her party in the lower house of Congress. During President Vicente Fox’s administration, she served as social development minister.
--Editors: Jose Enrique Arrioja, Joshua Goodman, Jonathan Roeder
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