Will Independents Swing Mexico’s Presidential Vote?

Former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala earlier this month announced her resignation from Mexico’s PAN party and her plans to run for president as an independent. // File Photo: Zavala Campaign.

Former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala has resigned from the country’s opposition National Action Party, or PAN, and plans to run for president as an independent. Also this month, indigenous leader María de Jesús Patricio Martínez registered to run as an independent, backed by the Zapatista movement, and Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, who became Mexico’s first independent governor after leaving the PRI, is also considering a run for the nation’s top office. How will Zavala’s decision to run as an independent and the emergence of other independent candidates shape the dynamics among the country’s top political parties as they position themselves ahead of next year’s election? How badly has corruption eroded the PRI’s popularity? Will the ruling party be able to use fissures among the opposition parties to its advantage?

Andrés Rozental, member of the Advisor board, president of Rozental & Asociados in Mexico City and senior policy advisor at Chatham House: “The list of presumptive presidential candidates that have so far registered with the National Electoral Commission has reached an absurd figure of more than 80. These include a handful of serious contenders and many more that are either just taking advantage of the open registration or who are expressing frustration with their political parties that for one or another reason decided not to nominate them as official party candidates. Margarita Zavala is among the latter, having decided to part ways with the PAN party to which she belonged for more than 35 years because the head of the party, Ricardo Anaya, refused to include her early on in an open selection for…”

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