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Governor bows out of presidential race

September 24, 2011

Jalisco Governor Emilio Gonzalez announced Thursday that he will not seek the National Action Party (PAN) nomination for next year’s presidential election, clearing the path for a race between three Mexico City-based candidates.

Accompanied by PAN National President Gustavo Madero, Gonzalez acknowledged that he was committed to next months’s Pan American Games and would not have been able to focus on political campaigning until after the event. Entering the internal contest with a delay of 50 days would have been a “decisive” disadvantage, he said.

Gonzalez said he will not seek a position as a federal congressman or senator because “I do not want to put together a political career just to make money for myself.”

With Gonzalez having left the race, the three remaining candidates are federal legislator Josefina Vazquez Mota, former Treasury Secretary Ernesto Cordero Arroyo and Senator Santiago Creel Miranda. Most polls place Vazquez with a considerable lead over her two male rivals.

The PAN leadership had previously expressed a desire for just three candidates so as not to complicate the contest. Trailing someway behind his competitors in the polls, Gonzalez was the obvious candidate to drop out of the race.

Gonzalez had previously stated on several occasions that he was keen to enter the race, and played up the fact that he was the only one of the potential candidates to have actually won an election against the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

His announcement may also raise speculation that in return for his cooperation the party has offered Gonzalez a significant role in the new government, should the PAN win the election.

Gonzalez has another 15 months of his term to run.  State elections will be held in July next year, at the same time as the presidential elections.  Under Mexican law he is unable to run for a second term.

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