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News > Mexico

Mexican President Who Launched 'War on Drugs' Starts New Party

  • Mexican former president Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala arriving to Vladivostok for an APEC summit. Sept. 7, 2012

    Mexican former president Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala arriving to Vladivostok for an APEC summit. Sept. 7, 2012 | Photo: EFE

Published 22 January 2019

Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala founded "Mexico Libre," a new conservative political force to oppose Lopez Obrador.

Mexico’s ex-president Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) and his wife Margarita Zavala registered a brand new conservative party called “Mexico Libre” (Free Mexico), aiming for a comeback to Mexican politics after they both left the right-wing National Action Party (PAN).


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The new party aims to “restore politics” and “constructing the common well being instead of conquering power,” Zavala told the press, the head of the organization.

Zavala ran for president in the 2018 elections as an independent candidate after she left the PAN due a power dispute with Ricardo Anaya, accused by his detractors of using his position as the party’s president to promote his candidacy at a great political cost. She dropped out shortly after as polls were predicting a clear defeat for her.

“Today we start building a freer Mexico,” said Zavala, adding that the new party will defend the family, fathers and mothers, housemaids, professionals and public servants.

Both Zavala and Calderon founded an association in August known as the “Democratic Liberty and Responsibility” as a platform to oppose the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who leans to the left compared to the new party.

Calderon left the PAN, which took him to the presidency in 2006, in November, raising suspicion about his future political plans

“The group that is controlling the party completely abandoned its fundamental principles, its basic ideas and proposals,” said Calderon, arguing that the leading figures of the PAN had “destroyed its internal democracy.”

In an interview with Radio Formula, Calderon said that his new party has a lot to learn from the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) led by Lopez Obrador, whose landslide victory came after several disappointments with mainstream parties.

But he also made clear that his party won’t be defined by its opposition to Lopez Obrador.

“We don’t want to be defined by others or being identified as an organization that is against something by definition, but by the things we’re in favor. In that contrast, there will be things in which we’re against the government,” Calderon told the host Ciro Gomez Leyva.

The new party hopes to include young people that have not had the chance to participate in politics yet and announced that members of the party will visit every state in Mexico to organize 200 district assemblies or at least 20 assemblies with 3,000 members each at least.

The new party will have a year to register 230,000 members in order to be legally recognized.

Calderon is mostly remembered in Mexico for starting the so-called “war on drugs,” at the beginning of his administration, resulting in levels of violence without precedent in Mexico’s modern history and tens of thousands of people disappeared and killed since then.

Zavala is also known for having a strong stance against same-sex marriage based on her “Christian values.”

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