Ruling Mexican political party picks woman as candidate

Josefina Vásquez Mota has become the first female presidential candidate from any of Mexico’s major political parties.

Ms. Vásquez Mota won the ruling Partido Acción Nacional primary Sunday night. The 59-year-old is hoping to revitalize support for her party in a country weary of corruption and drug violence. That violence is blamed for more than 47,000 deaths since President Felipe Calderón came to office.

Many in México say they are ready for a change after 12 years under the Partido Acción Nacional, and Ms. Vásquez Mota will have to convince voters her presidency would not be a continuation of Calderon’s legacy. In her favor, Calderón and the party establishment had backed another candidate.

Ms. Vásquez Mota, a one-time journalist and economist, has served in the government as a legislator, as education secretary, and as the country’s first female social development secretary. She also was Calderon’s campaign manager.

She will face opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional. Despite holding a wide lead in polls, the 45-year-old Nieto has stumbled on the campaign trail, and some in México say they are not ready to hand power back to his party, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years.

Also running is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from the Partido de la Revolución Democrática. The 59-year-old former Mexico City mayor finished a close second in the 2006 presidential election, just behind President Calderon.

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