Former congresswoman Josefina Vasquez Mota, front, speaks to journalists and supporters prior to know about her party’s primary elections final results in Mexico City, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. The National Action Party, Mexico’s ruling party, on Sunday chose Vazquez Mota to run for president, the first time a major party has nominated a woman to compete for the nation’s top office.
The National Action Party’s vote for Josefina Vazquez Mota over two other candidates sets the race for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election. The two other major parties had already selected their candidates.
Vazquez Mota, 51, faces an uphill climb against former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto, the front-runner in the current polls who could return Mexico’s long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to power after a 12-year hiatus.
The leftist Democratic Revolution Party chose Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is making his second run after a razor-thin loss in 2006 to President Felipe Calderon. Mexico limits its presidents to a single six-year term.
Vazquez Mota is considered Pena Nieto’s strongest potential challenger, a personable, charismatic candidate who like Pena Nieto is good on the stump. Though Mexican voters in general seem weary of the ruling party after presidents Vicente Fox and Calderon, the novelty of a woman candidate could boost party appeal.
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