Independent candidate and former first lady Margarita Zavala has dropped out of the race for president, a move that will likely help rivals to front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Support for Zavala, wife of former president Felipe Calderón, has been dropping in opinion polls — she polled as high as 16% support last November but was down to 2.7% in one recent poll — although she has done better than Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, the only other independent candidate on the ballot in the July 1 vote.
Zavala, 50, announced her withdrawal in a recorded interview on the Televisa program Tercer Grado. “I withdraw my candidacy from the race,” she said in excerpts from the program that were released before the program was to be broadcast later today. She said the move left her supporters at liberty to choose a candidate to vote for.
Zavala put in 33 yhears as an active member of the National Action Party (PAN) and had hoped to be the party’s presidential candidate. But then-party president Ricardo Anaya succeeded in his efforts to win the PAN nomination.
Zavala resigned from the party, claiming that Anaya had bypassed democratic procedures in the process to choose a candidate.
Anaya now leads a coalition with the Democratic Revolution Party and has been running in second place in the polls, though well behind López Obrador.
Yesterday, during a meeting with the financial services firm BBVA Bancomer, he called on Zavala to join his campaign.
At the same event, Zavala admitted having problems financing her election bid.
Bloomberg reported that the peso jumped 0.7% this afternoon as a result of the candidate’s resignation on the grounds that some investors believe it reduces the chances of a win by leftist López Obrador.
The Bloomberg poll tracker gives him 45.4%, 18 points ahead of Anaya with 27.7%. José Antonio Meade, candidate for a coalition led by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, has 18.9%; Zavala 3.7% and Rodríguez 2.8.