- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 1, 2006

MEXICO CITY

Politics seem to be stamped into Felipe Calderon’s genes. They dominate his life.

The presidential candidate’s father helped found the pro-business, pro-church National Action Party, or PAN, in the 1930s. Mr. Calderon, 43, is married to a congresswoman.

Born in the central state of Michoacan on Aug. 18, 1962, Harvard-educated Mr. Calderon first went to work for the PAN at age 26, heading its youth wing before running unsuccessfully for Michoacan governor.

He directed the party for three years until 1999 and twice served as a federal congressman.

After PAN’s Vicente Fox won the presidency in 2000, ending the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s 71-year hold on power, Mr. Calderon headed the party’s bloc in the Chamber of Deputies, but his failure to broker many compromises doomed many of Mr. Fox’s pet projects. Mr. Fox made him energy secretary, but he stepped down in May 2004 after Mr. Fox criticized him for launching a presidential campaign while still in office.

Mr. Fox is limited by the constitution to a single six-year term.

Although Mr. Calderon was not the president’s top choice as a successor, he effectively billed himself as an underdog who would make good on Mr. Fox’s unfulfilled promises, and easily won his party’s three-way primary race.

A father of three, Mr. Calderon is the youngest of three major presidential hopefuls and has reached out to young voters and women. He promises to reduce crime, extend government health and service programs and continue market-friendly economic policies to create jobs.

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