Zavala pulls out of Mexican presidential race

Margarita Zavala, Mexico’s former first lady who was running as an independent in the July 1 election has quit the race after failing to build support.

The wife of former President Felipe Calderón, who split from the conservative National Action Party (PAN) last year after failing to become anointed as its candidate, told Televisa television station in a programme to be aired later that she was pulling out. An opinion poll published by Mitofsky late on Tuesday had given her 2.7 per cent gross support.

“I withdraw my candidacy from the race,” Ms Zavala told the programme Tercer Grado in excerpts aired ahead of transmission. She gave no reasons, saying only her move “left at liberty [to choose who to vote for] those who have so generously supported me”.

PAN leader Ricardo Anaya, who quashed Ms Zavala’s hopes of leading the party’s candidacy, has teamed up in a right-left alliance but is lying a distant second behind leftist populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is now widely considered unstoppable. According to a poll of polls by, an election tracking site, Mr López Obrador is leading with 40.6 to 46.3 per cent support, with Mr Anaya on 26.7 to 31.9 per cent.

Mr Anaya’s camp has made no secret of its desire for Ms Zavala to drop out of the running, in favour of Mr Anaya, but analysts said the move may not bring enough support to make any difference.

José Antonio Meade, the ruling PRI party candidate, and Jaime Rodríguez, another independent, are still in the race but trailing badly.

Photo: Getty