APIZACO, Mexico — Teresa Hernandez held a look of pride and a smile as wide as the midday sun, as she waited for the arrival of presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota.
“I never thought I would see this,” said Mrs. Hernandez, who at 72 remembers a time in Mexico when women were not even allowed to vote, let alone run for the highest office in the land.
“Men are always in charge, and the women are always underneath,” she said. “Now, the nation will advance forward because of Josefina. It will advance by electing a woman to be president.”
Mexican women have had voting rights since 1953.
The feeling coursing through Mrs. Hernandez was one the ruling National Action Party (PAN) hoped to capitalize on when it picked Mrs. Vazquez Mota to be the first women to run on a major party ticket.
Since Mexico’s constitution allows presidents to serve a single, six-year term, the incumbent and socially conservative President Felipe Calderon will leave office later this year.
A former congresswoman and an education minister under Mr. Calderon, the 52-year-old Mrs. Vazquez Mota has attracted an energized following.
Yet she has so far struggled to achieve a level of momentum that will likely be required to beat front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto, whose centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is poised to reclaim the presidency in July.
Polls show Mrs. Vazquez Mota running well ahead of left-leaning candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but she is unable to get within 10 percentage points of Mr. Pena Nieto.
The problem, say analysts, is that she seems burdened under the stigma of Mr. Calderon, whose presidency has been plagued by slow economic growth and stained by the blood of some 50,000 Mexicans killed in drug-war violence since 2006.
Mrs. Vazquez Mota has tried posters, T-shirts and ads heralding her slogan, ‘Josefina Diferente.’
However, she “hasn’t been able to brand herself effectively enough for the national audience,” said Federico Estevez, a political scientist at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.
“She’s not selling herself as a competent manager,” he added. “That’s completely missing from her campaign.”
What she has done is build a platform on criticizing the opposition PRI, often alluding in speeches to high-level PRI corruption.
“I reiterate my proposal of creating life sentences for politicians who make deals with organized criminals,” she said at one recent rally.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
We welcome you to the intimate and personal thoughts on the news and events we, as editors, watch, read, and discuss with our writers every day.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention