The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Full Article
Images of March
Nugent says had "solid" meeting with Secret Service
19 Apr 2012
Shocking nation, Norway killer describes island massacre
Disney film studio chief Ross steps down
Insight: U.S. barnyards help China super-size food production
Colton Dixon says "Bad Romance" turned off Christians
Trayvon Martin’s killer showed signs of injury: neighbors
Scandal mars Obama’s wooing of Latin America
Human-made earthquakes reported in central U.S
Have a slice of insect pie!
Wed, Apr 18 2012
Great white shark kills man in Cape Town waters
Thu, Apr 19 2012
Thousands march in Auschwitz to commemorate Holocaust Day
Thu, Apr 19 2012
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Weird world records
From who can wear the most bees to who can unicycle the longest. Slideshow
Protests in Bahrain
Anti-government demonstrations continue in Bahrain. Slideshow
Mexico's conservatives bet on woman presidential hopeful
PENPIX-Mexico's leftist hope struggles to recapture old form
Mexico's Pena Nieto offers new start to PRI
Analysis & Opinion
Washington Extra – Pump It Up
Obama and the failed war on drugs
Mexico Election »
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (L) poses with Mexican Josefina Vazquez Mota, presidential candidate of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) before a private meeting at a hotel in Mexico City April 18, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Henry Romero
MEXICO CITY |
Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:24pm EDT
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's ruling conservatives took a bold step by becoming the first major party to nominate a woman presidential candidate, but Josefina Vazquez Mota is struggling to close a big gap with the front-runner, hamstrung by internal party divisions.
Three weeks into a compressed campaign season before the July 1 vote, Vazquez Mota trails Enrique Pena Nieto from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, by double digits in most opinion polls.
Vazquez Mota's National Action Party, or PAN, is placing its hopes in the petite 51-year-old politician, who served as President Felipe Calderon's education minister before becoming the party's leader in the lower house of congress.
She won popular support from grassroots voters to beat out the president's perceived favorite - former finance minister Ernesto Cordero - in a February primary vote, and is trying to overcome infighting to unify the party behind her.
But her campaign got off to a shaky start, and she is far behind the youthful former governor Pena Nieto, who hopes to seize back power for the PRI, which ruled Mexico for seven decades before being ousted by the PAN in 2000.
She overhauled her team just days into official campaigning, producing slick television spots, including one attack ad going after Pena Nieto's record as governor. In one ad she declares: "I will be a president in a skirt, but I will wear the pants."
But the gamble has yet to pay off. One poll published on April 19 even had her slipping back into third place, behind the 2006 runner-up, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
As a federal deputy, Vazquez Mota vigorously backed Calderon's reforms, but her efforts to shepherd them through congress frequently foundered due to opposition from the PRI.
As president, she would likely face similar challenges pushing through more ambitious policies such as trying to list Pemex, the nationalized oil monopoly, on the stock exchange.
Her loyalty to the government could be a liability due to public discontent over the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 50,000 lives since Calderon deployed the army to crush drug cartels after taking office at the end of 2006.
With her campaign slogan "Josefina is different," she is seeking to carefully distance herself from the government's less popular policies while still drawing support from Calderon's inner circle.
At one campaign rally before she became PAN candidate, some questioned her ability as a woman to carry on Calderon's battle against the brutal cartels, known for torture, massacres and decapitations. She insists she is up to the challenge.
"I will not negotiate with organized crime," she said at a recent event, in a veiled reference to a widely held belief that PRI politicians in the past had cut deals with criminals to keep the peace.
Supporters often hear about her proud role as mother of three daughters and wife in a 27-year-long marriage.
To woo female voters, she has promoted the cause of women's health and education. Her proposals include lengthening Mexico's short school day so mothers have more time to work.
Many of Vazquez Mota's views on women can be found in a 1999 self-help book she wrote called "My God, Make Me A Widow Please: The Challenge Of Being Yourself."
"Little girls are taught to be dependent, incapable of valuing themselves in many aspects of their daily lives," she wrote, preaching improved self-esteem as a remedy.
In the book, her religious conviction also emerges, as she thanks God for "infinite love" in the introduction. Hoping for votes from the PAN's strong Roman Catholic base, she is opposed to gay marriage and abortion but also to jailing women for terminating pregnancies, a practice in some of Mexico's states.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Eric Walsh)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.