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Political analyst José Antonio Crespo, in Proceso's latest issue on Mexican presidential aspirants, predicts that the National Action Party race will come down to Josefina Vázquez Mota against Ernesto Cordero. Vázquez Mota has passed former Interior Minister and former Sen. Santiago Creel in many polls, and although Cordero is far behind them, Crespo says that Cordero being President Felipe Calderón's candidate likely will make him Vázquez Mota's closest challenger.
Meanwhile, front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party was succeeded as Mexico state governor on Thursday by fellow PRIista Eruviel Ávila.
Crespo says Vázquez Mota did not do too badly as social development minister under President Vicente Fox. He says her heading of the Education Ministry did not go as well due to conflicts with teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, a favorite of both Calderón and Fox. Crespo says that because Gordillo's star has dramatically fallen and is quite unpopular, Vázquez Mota's actions at the Education Ministry may now be seen as a virtue. Crespo says that while she may not have had great successes as the PAN's congressional leader from 2009 until earlier this month, neither did she suffer disasters.
Crespo says she will not be a spectacular presidential candidate, and points out that many criticize her lack of spontaneity and freshness. She lacks charisma.
But he says that surely her manner would be far better for the PAN than what he called the rigid, colorless and insipid Cordero. Crespo says that Cordero, finance minister until earlier this month, did not use his time as social development minister to increase his visibility, a cardinal sin for a politician. Crespo uses the example of the great bullfighter Manolete to illustrate the point: Manolete, asked what was needed to become a bullfighter, said that first of all you must act like one. Cordero, Crespo says, did not perform. Crespo says Cordero's failings as a political actor make it appear that Calderón miscalculated in backing Cordero instead of Education Minister Alonso Lujambio, who at least has the looks, voice and mannerisms of a good politician. Creel says Lujambio pulled out of the race last month because Calderón told him to. Crespo also says that because it is so important that the Finance Ministry not be seen as a politicized entity, particularly in these uncertain economic times, it was a further mistake for Calderón to back Cordero. Crespo even suggests that anyone named finance minister not be allowed to run for office until he or she has been out of office for three years.
Update, Sept. 19: Columnist Denise Dresser pretty much sees the PAN's chances as a lost cause, but, like Luis Rubio (see item below), also says Vázquez Mota is the PAN's only chance.
Pollster Jorge Buendía tells new U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne that Vázquez Mota will win the PAN nomination for president.