Former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala announces presidential bid | News | DW | 15.06.2015
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Former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala announces presidential bid

Former First Lady of Mexico Margarita Zavala has announced that she would seek to emulate her husband Felipe Calderon’s success by running for the presidency in 2018. Calderon was in power from 2006 to 2012.

The 47-year-old wife of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who remained in office from 2006 to 2012, used an in a two-minute online video to declare her intention to run for president in 2018. She said that she would work to improve the country's economy as well as the rule of law in Mexico, emphasizing that there was "a huge gap between politicians and citizens" in Mexico.

"Reconciliation with the public is the most important task for those of us who seek to establish a better Mexico," she said in her video, in which she appeared dressed in a suit jacket and a traditional Mexican shawl.

Run as an independent candidate possible

A former congresswoman for the center-right National Action Party (PAN), Zavala made a broad appeal across the entire political spectrum, leaving the prospect of staging an independent bid open. But some commentators have interpreted the nature of her announcement as an independent bid.

"I will put together, hand in hand with the people, a national campaign that of course includes PAN supporters, but also those who have voted for other political alternatives and those who have stopped believing in parties," she said.

Image of Pena Nieto

Current President Enrique Pena Nieto faces a popular challenger as his popularity wanes

Zavala was a popular first lady during her husband's PAN administration, which became inundated with managing the struggle against the country's violent drug cartels. This culminated in the party's eventual fall from power. Zavala's bid also appeared to be a challenge to the PAN, whose leadership was criticized by her supporters when she had sought a spot on the list of ‘safe seats' in lower house legislative elections, which were held last weekend. The party denied Zavala the seat.

PRI is watching Zavala's moves closely

Public anger over impunity, political corruption and sluggish economic growth have all created widespread discontent with the government of Calderon's successor, President Enrique Pena Nieto of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Though Pena Nieto's approval ratings have hit multi-year lows, the PAN has been riddled with so much political infighting that it finished a distant second in recent polls.

If Margarita Zavala is successful with her leadership bid, she would become the first woman to preside over Mexico. But experts say that she would be more likely to accomplish her aims if she ran for PAN, and not against it.

ss/bw (Reuters, EFE)

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