Mexican presidential politics are not usually known for being particularly progressive or ground breaking, but all of that might change this year with the nomination of Josefina Vazquez Mota to lead the ticket of the PAN (National Action Party).
Vazquez Mota, a former education administrator won her party’s internal primary and is the first woman to ever be nominated to lead a major party for the presidency in Mexico.
There are three main parties in Mexican politics and two are considered likely to ever win the presidency. The PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) essentially had one party rule over Mexico for almost 70 years until it was trounced by Vicente Fox and his PAN party in 2000 (with quite a bit of help from George W. Bush and the GOP.)
The third party, the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), considered the most left wing of the three, was narrowly defeated in a highly questionable election in 2006 and seeks another crack at government. Mexican presidents can only serve one 6 year term and cannot run for re-election, which makes the stakes for running even higher.
As of right now, certain elements of Mexican politics are praising Vazquez Mota’s nomination as a sign of progress in the nation, but the road she faces is a difficult one. The administration of current PAN leader and Mexican president Felipe Calderon has damaged the reputation of his party with a bloody war against the drug cartels and a sluggish economy. Perhaps it’s so bad in Mexico, particularly with the Narco Wars blazing on, that it’s the only type of climate that would pick a woman nominee in a country like this. But, by defeating Calderon’s chosen successor former Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero, the first female nominee has to reconcile harsh feelings within her party as well.
Due to larger issues facing the nation, the PRI candidate Enrique Pena Nieto is poised to re-take the presidency after a decade long hiatus. However, party officials in the PAN feel that Vazquez Mota’s campaign skills, along with the historical significance of a woman on the ballot for a major party, might help the race to tighten before the July 1st election. This is definitely a close race to watch, and not just for Mexicans either.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.