- Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI-PVEM):
Former governor of the State of Mexico (2005-2011), Enrique Peña Nieto, 44, is currently the front-runner in the 2012 presidential race according to numerous polls. He formally joined the race on September 19, 2011 and officially became the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) candidate on November 27, 2011.
Peña Nieto won the PRI’s nomination based on his record as governor of Mexico’s most populous state, and his ability to portray himself as the “new face” of the PRI, the long-ruling party that held the presidency for 71 years until 2000. His opponents portray him as a “puppet” of the old PRI that seeks to recover its political power; and, conversely, as a charming media personality with an actress wife, but otherwise without much gravitas. Nevertheless, he continues to do well in the polls and with a united and focused PRI behind him he becomes the clear frontrunner in the July 1st election. Read more…
- Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN):
Josefina Vázquez Mota is the candidate of the governing National Action Party (PAN) who ended the PRI’s long dominance of the presidency in 2000 and won a second term in 2006. Vázquez Mota was most recently the leader of the PAN delegation in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Mexican Congress. She stepped down on September 7, 2011 to compete for the presidential nomination.
The novelty of being the first women presidential candidate from a major political party, her reputation as a strong motivational speaker, and her experience dealing with Mexico’s major social issues have buoyed her candidacy. Nevertheless, her campaign faltered early onwhen a series of organizational missteps lead to embarrassing public events. In response she moved quickly, on April 9th, to shake up her campaign team by bringing in a number of trusted allies of President Calderón and seasoned political veterans. She is currently in second place in most public opinion polls. Read more…
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD-PT- Movimiento Ciudadano):
On November 16, 2011, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, as he is commonly known, became the candidate of Mexico’s progressive coalition (PRD-PT- Movimiento Ciudadano) when he outpolled his main rival, Marcelo Ebrard, in an internal PRD poll. López Obrador was a very popular former mayor of Mexico City (2000 – 2005) and subsequently became the party’s presidential candidate in 2006 losing by less than one percentage point, according to official results. The narrow outcome and reports of irregularities lead to his call for a full recount. When electoral authorities agreed only to a limited recount in select areas, AMLO decided to not accept the final official results and led a large public protest in downtown Mexico City for several weeks.
In the lead up to the 2012 campaign, AMLO has worked hard to moderate his image, reaching out to the business community and the middle class, and committing himself to accepting the legal framework for elections and the rule of law. Public opinion surveys generally place him in third place, within a few percentage points of Vázquez Mota, and sometimes place him in second place. Read more…
- Gabriel Quadri de la Torre (PANAL):
Gabriel Quadri rose from virtual political anonymity when he declared his candidacy for president with the Nueva Alianza (PANAL) political party on February 16, 2012. He presents himself as the “candidate of the teachers” and of the free citizens in Mexico calling for a “peaceful revolution” whose base would be the National Teachers’ Union of Mexico.
Quadri’s relationship to Gordillo is controversial given the SNTE’s clout on issues related to educational reform. Nevertheless, the PANAL candidate openly declared himself to be a big fan of SNTE’s longtime leader Elba Esther Gordillo, arguing that the Teachers’ Union is one of the key pillars of PANAL and that teachers should be at the forefront of Mexico’s needed educational reform. The polls do not favor Quadri as he currently registers a voter preference of merely 1 percent. Read more…
Defeated primary candidates
See background on the candidates who dropped out of their respective internal primaries: