There could be a wide range of choices when Mexican voters elect a new president next year: 86 people registered as independent candidates by Saturday’s deadline, the National Electoral Institute (INE) announced.
It will be the first presidential election to allow the participation of candidates who are unaffiliated with political parties. But the final ballot is likely to contain somewhat fewer names.
Of the 86 declared aspirants, eight have already been ruled ineligible because they failed to comply with at least one of the requirements set by the INE, while a further 38 were given an additional 48 hours to fulfill all of the relevant criteria. The remaining 40 have received accreditation.
The final number will not be finalized until February after candidates have gathered signatures to demonstrate they have enough popular support to warrant inclusion.
To qualify, each candidate is required by law to collect 866,593 signatures of support by February 12, a number that corresponds to 1% of all voters on the electoral roll.
The INE announced yesterday that a mobile application has been developed so that presidential candidates can collect the signatures digitally, a measure designed to save millions of pesos and lots of paper.
Notable candidates among the large field include former first lady Margarita Zavala, who recently announced her resignation from the National Action Party (PAN), and the independent governor of Nuevo León, Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez Calderón.
María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua woman better known as “Marichuy,” is also running. Backed by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), the healer from Jalisco will be the first indigenous woman to run for president in Mexican history.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of the Morena Party, is currently leading the polls but the major parties, including the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the PAN, have yet to select their candidates.
Once candidates are announced, future polls are likely to give a clearer indication of voters’ intentions for the July 1 election.
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