Mex­ico's ex-first lady launches in­de­pen­dent pres­i­den­tial run

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

MEX­ICO CITY

- Mex­ico's for­mer first lady Margarita Zavala an­nounced Fri­day she will stand as an in­de­pen­dent in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions next year, ditch­ing the coun­try's main op­po­si­tion party and shak­ing up the race.

Zavala (50) is the wife of for­mer pres­i­dent Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) and a pop­u­lar con­ser­va­tive in her own right, hav­ing served as a law­maker for the National Ac­tion Party (PAN).

But she was un­happy with the party lead­er­ship over what she called an opaque can­di­date se­lec­tion process that she con­cluded would hand the nom­i­na­tion to PAN Pres­i­dent Ri­cardo Anaya.

"I would have liked to (run) for the PAN. I did ev­ery­thing in my power to make it hap­pen," she said in a video posted on­line.

But when she in­sisted on a trans­par­ent can­di­date se­lec­tion process, party lead­ers were "eva­sive," she said.

Polls in­di­cate Zavala is more pop­u­lar than Anaya (38).

In fact, she is the sec­ond-most pop­u­lar pres­i­den­tial prospect, af­ter left­ist rad­i­cal Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Pun­dits were split over who would be the main ben­e­fi­ciary of her deci- sion: Lopez Obrador or the rul­ing In­sti­tu­tional Revo­lu­tion­ary Party (PRI), which is strug­gling to cling to power amid dis­mal ap­proval rat­ings for Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto -cur­rently about 16 per­cent.

The pres­i­dent and his party have been bat­tered by a se­ries of cor­rup­tion scan­dals and shock­ing rates of vi­o­lent crime.

AFP

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