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PRI’s Peña Nieto has clear route to candidacy

November 26, 2011

Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones has said he will not seek the presidential nomination of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), effectively confirming Enrique Peña Nieto as the party candidate.

Beltrones announced on Tuesday that he wants to maintain his party’s unity as it seeks to regain the presidency it lost in 2000 after 71 years in power. A veteran leader of the PRI, Beltrones said his decision to step aside “is not a sacrifice but is my contribution to the party’s victory in 2012.”

Although not officially confirmed yet, Peña Nieto now looks certain to be the PRI candidate. The former governor of the state of Mexico is favorite to win the presidency by some margin.

Beltrones’ decision comes hot on the heals of last week’s announcement that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will be the candidate of a leftist coalition led by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

The incumbent National Action Party (PAN) is now the only major party left to choose a candidate, with President Felipe Calderon prohibited by the Mexican constitution from seeking reelection.

Former Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero, Senator Santiago Creel and former Education Minister Josefina Vazquez Mota, are all vying for the nomination. Vazquez Mota leads the party polls and if selected would be the first female presidential candidate of a major political party in Mexico.

Under Mexican law, presidential campaigning cannot officially begin until February 2012.

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