Sunday, February 5, 2012

Josefina Vázquez Mota sweeps PAN primary with convincing 55% win

PANista will be first female presidential candidate in Mexico's history; calls PRI and Enrique Peña Nieto "authoritarian, corrupt" and a "great threat to Mexico"

Josefina Vázquez Mota made history this evening by capturing her party's nomination to become the first woman presidential candidate of a major party in Mexico's 202 years of statehood. With 90% of the internal ballots counted, Vázquez Mota is handily winning 55% of the votes cast by PAN party regulars.

The big surprise tonight is the abrupt reversal of position by her two male opponents. Ernesto Cordero, who just days ago was all but out of the race with only 10% support according to recent polls, leaped ahead in the final week of the primary campaign and has captured 38% of the vote. Santiago Creel, who had enjoyed solid 20-25% support based upon those same polls, has ended up far back in third place with just over 6% of the vote. About 547,000 PAN party members participated in the primary selection process.

Victory speech: "We're now just one," said Vázquez Mota. "The primary is over, we're now all PANistas, and have no doubt, this July 1 we are going to win Los Pinos. We're going to change Mexican history forever by electing its first woman president."

Fierce language directed at PRI: "We're going to defeat the worst possible threat to Mexico, a threat which would represent a return to the authoritarian rule of the past, a return to the corruption of the past, a return to the impunity of the past, a return to everything undemocratic -- that threat is the Institutional Revolutionary Party and Enrique Peña Nieto." Josefina's supporters and the PAN party faithful roared out their approval.

Feb. 6 footnote: In the interest of historical accuracy, I should point out that some of Mexico's minor political parties have put forth women presidential candidates over the years. In fact, according to a Milenio news network report today, Josefina Vázquez Mota is actually the 15th female presidential candidate (a number which surprised me). But none of her predecessors in the quest for the country's highest office had the slightest chance of winning. Mexico has had many political parties in its history, including various socialist and workers' parties. In terms of results at the ballot box, most of them were/are scarcely a blip on the radar screen. In any case, it would be better to say that Vázquez Mota is the first woman candidate in the history of the three major parties which today totally dominate the Mexican political landscape: PRI, PRD and PAN.

Background stories:
PAN primary balloting under way:
PAN primary campaign winds down:
Josefina and Enrique:

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