Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s ruling party selected Josefina Vazquez Mota as its candidate for the Mexican presidency, setting up a challenge against frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto.
President Felipe Calderon congratulated Vazquez Mota, the only woman contending for the July 1 presidential election, after winning his party’s nomination in a primary vote, the president’s office said in an e-mailed statement. Vazquez Mota, 51, led the preliminary results with 55 percent of the vote and 86.7 percent of the precincts counted, Jose Espina, the party’s chief election coordinator, told reporters last night.
Ernesto Cordero, a former finance minister, had 38.1 percent of the vote, while Santiago Creel, who was interior minister during the administration of Vicente Fox, was third with 6.1 percent, according to Espina.
“I’ll be the first woman president in the country’s history,” Vazquez Mota told supporters in Mexico City in a victory speech. “I’ll be the president for everyone.”
While Vazquez Mota won her party’s candidacy, she trails Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party on the national level. Pena Nieto’s party, which controlled Mexico for seven decades until 2000, has the largest number of seats in Mexico’s lower house.
To make up ground, the former education minister plans to boost economic growth to at least 6 percent from 2 percent over the past decade. To achieve that goal, she plans to make it easier to hire and fire workers and to attract private investment into Mexico’s state-controlled oil industry.
Nationally, Vazquez Mota has the backing of 23 percent of voters, compared with 41 percent for Pena Nieto, according to a survey taken Jan. 14 through 18 by Mitofsky. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who narrowly lost the presidential election in 2006 with the Party of the Democratic Revolution, has 18 percent support. The survey included 1,000 people and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
--With assistance from Crayton Harrison, Nacha Cattan, Jose Enrique Arrioja, Jonathan Levin and Carlos Manuel Rodriguez in Mexico City. Editors: Philip Sanders, Mike Millard.
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