Former first lady Margarita Zavala announced Saturday she would run for president in 2018 by seeking the nomination as the National Action Party (PAN) candidate.
The wife of former president Felipe Calderón said in a video published on her Twitter account that the economy and rule of law were two important themes, but noted there was “an enormous gap” between politicians and the people.
She also said she would reach out not just to PAN supporters but to those who have supported other parties or simply stopped believing in them.
There were indications of a rift between Zavala and the PAN leadership in January after she was denied a spot on a “safe list” of seats to be awarded in the lower house by proportional representation.
In last week’s elections, the candidate said, Mexicans demonstrated a high level of civic responsibility by going out to vote for change, punishing bad governments by voting for alternatives, new groupings or independent candidates.
A source close to the Calderón family was quoted by one observer as saying that Zavala was motivated to announce her run by the election of an independent governor, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, in Nuevo León. The speculation is that if the party doesn’t accept her, she will herself run as an independent.
Zavala declared her allegiance to the party in a radio interview following her announcement: “I’m a Panista,” but expressed the hope that the party would engage in some deep reflection and change many of its processes.
PAN did not fare well in the elections, its support dropping five percentage points to 21% and its seats in the Chamber of Deputies reduced to 108 from 114.
Zavala, 47, studied law at the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, and married Calderón in 1993. She was elected as a PAN deputy in the lower house of Congress in 2006, the same year her husband was elected president.