Independent candidate Patricio Martínez, one of 24 so far. Independent and indigenous candidate Patricio Martínez, one of 24 so far.

24 independents running for president

It is the first time that independents have been permitted to run for the job

Twenty-four people unaffiliated with any political party have registered to be included on the ballot in next year’s presidential election, and there are still a few days left before the deadline.

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It will be the first election in which independent candidates are permitted to run, a change that came with promulgation of electoral reforms in 2014.

The list of presidential hopefuls includes college professors, former union leaders, businessmen and career politicians who have decided to go solo.

The most recognizable among the 24 candidates are:

• Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez Calderón, the current governor of Nuevo León who won that office as an independent in 2015 after being a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

• Armando Ríos Piter, independent senator for Guerrero. He won a seat in the upper house in 2012 when he ran for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) but resigned in February, protesting the country’s party system.

• Pedro Ferriz de Con, journalist and news anchor for over three decades. He resigned in August 2014 from a radio news show aired by Grupo Imagen, declaring that he was going to focus politics instead.

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• Perhaps the most notable on the list is María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, also known as “Marichuy,” a Nahua medicine woman from Tuxpan, Jalisco.

Patricio’s candidacy came after a months-long discussion within the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), an organization that counts the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) among its members.

After presenting her documents to the National Electoral Institute (INE) on Saturday, the only indigenous candidate on the list so far addressed a crowd outside INE headquarters in Mexico City.

She described her political proposal and platform as “collective” and “different,” declaring that her campaign was not going to accept “a single peso” of party financing from the electoral institute.

“We are going to walk in the manner of the indigenous people, with the support of our communities,” said the candidate.

But not, perhaps, with the support of the financial services industry. Patricio claimed that several banks refused to let her open her a bank account and having one is a requirement for running for election.

“The process was not streamlined, they wanted to treat us like high society [people], with the rules made by those up there, a structure that’s only designed for them, not for those below, not for workers and much less for indigenous communities, but even so we took this first step.”

The original deadline for the registration of independent candidates was yesterday, but the electoral institute decided to extend it by six days because its Mexico City headquarters had been closed for that length of time after the September 19 earthquake.

On July 1, 2018, voters in Mexico will elect a new president and renew both houses of Congress, a total of 628 legislators.

Source: Reforma (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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