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Mexico's ruling party taps woman candidate

Feb. 6, 2012 at 8:36 AM

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Mexico's ruling party chose Josefina Vazquez Mota -- the first female nominated by a major party -- to lead the ticket in the presidential elections in July.

Vazquez Mota bested two others in the primary of the conservative National Action Party in Sunday's party selection, including a former cabinet minister thought to be preferred by President Felipe Calderon, who cannot seek a second six-year term by law, The New York Times reported.

Vazquez Mota, 51, will run against two other major party candidates selected in December. Enrique Pena Nieto, 45, a former Mexico state governor, leads the polls in his effort to return his centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party to power. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 59, the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party candidate, lost a narrow race to Calderon in 2006.

Vazquez Mota reveled in the potential to become the first woman president of Mexico, the Times said.

"I am going to be the first woman president in history," she told supporters.

"She has a good outreach to people outside the party," Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, told the Times. "She is likely to be able to give her party a new lease on life in the election."

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