‘El Bronco’ steps aside to seek Mexican presidency
January 2, 2018
On 1 January, Jaime ‘El Bronco’ Rodríguez Calderón formally took leave of absence as governor of Mexico's north-eastern state of Nuevo León in order to seek the presidency on 1 July.
Significance: Rodríguez is the only independent candidate so far to succeed in surpassing the 866,593 signatures (1% of the federal electoral roll) required to run for the presidency, according to a report released by the national electoral institute (INE) on 1 January. Margarita Zavala, who abandoned the right-wing opposition Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) party in acrimonious circumstances last October to make an independent bid, is closing in on the total, having collected 780,556 votes.
Manuel González Flores was sworn in as governor of Nuevo León in an interim capacity for the next six months to replace Rodríguez, who had assumed the post in 2015. Rodríguez has smashed the signature target, with a haul of 1.34m votes in total, but he is yet to comply with the second requirement that these signatures should be collected in at least 17 different states.
Senator Armando Ríos Piter, who broke ranks with the left-wing opposition Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) party last April to make a bid for the presidency, currently has 549,995 endorsements and should reach the demanding threshold set by the INE. But it is looking increasingly unlikely that any other independent presidential aspirant will make the grade. María ‘Marichuy’ de Jesús Patricio, who is backed by the insurgent Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) and the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI), has only 128,432 signatures at present, and Pedro Ferriz de Con, a journalist and television presenter, 98,215.
The signatures need to be validated, meaning that to be on the safe side it is probably necessary to collect around 1m votes apiece. Only 733,520 of the signatures collected by Rodríguez, for instance, have been authenticated by the INE as it stands, although it has not completed the revision process. The INE has confirmed that 522,386 of the endorsements received by Zavala are valid, and 217,579 for Ríos Piter.
Looking Ahead: Independent aspirants have until 19 February to collect the requisite number of signatures in more than half of Mexico’s states to compete in the presidential elections.
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