Roberto Madrazo, the leftist candidate for the Institutional
Revolutionary Party, trails behind two other candidates in the race for Mexico's
the end of the Mexican civil war in 1929 to 2000, Madrazo's party,
known by its Spanish abbreviation PRI, dominated Mexican politics,
winning every presidential election for 71 years, all state elections
until 1989 and a majority of congressional seats until 1997.
In recent years however, confidence in the PRI has dwindled,
opposing parties have emerged and in 2000, it lost the presidential election to
Vicente Fox of the National Action Party, or PAN. Madrazo still holds support
in the rural states in the countryside championing rights for the poor, but faces
opposition in other areas and even from within his own party.
analysts frequently describe him as a crook, and anti-democrat and a dinosaur,"
wrote Daniel Erikson in the World Policy Journal, because of his connections with
the old guard of the PRI and Tijuana's Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon, who has been investigated
by the United States for allegedly laundering drug money.
And from what
polls show, few voters support his candidacy and he lags in third place behind
Felipe Calderon of Fox's PAN and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic
Revolution Party, or PRD.
A rivalry between Obrador and Madrazo extends
back to 1994 when Madrazo beat Obrador for the governorship of Tabasco, a dusty
southern state that is home to both candidates. To win the race, Madrazo reportedly
gave cash to voters, funded a large media campaign and spent $70 million, more
than 60 times the campaign limit, according to Erikson.
In April 2005, Madrazo's
party tried to disqualify Obrador from running in the 2006 race by pushing to
impeach him as mayor of Mexico City over his refusal to abide by a court ruling
to halt a construction project. The attempt ultimately failed and Obrador retained
his position as mayor.
During his 2006 presidential campaign, Madrazo pledged
to create 9 million jobs in six years, offer scholarships to low-income students
and create a special fund for the betterment of the poor in southern Mexico. Calling
himself a progressive leftist, he rejected his own party's free-market economic
Madrazo became the PRI's president in 2002. His election was tainted
by accusations of ballot-fixing and reports that he won more votes than participating
voters at some polling stations, according to the Mexico edition of the Miami
The PRI chose him to hold the party together, but the controversy
surrounding his election caused some of its members to turn against him. His aggressive
campaign for party leader drove Elba Esther Gordillo, an influential head of the
teacher's union, from public life and turned her from an ally into a rival.
years of public fighting within the PRI, and despite his rise to party chief,
Madrazo has become one of the most unpopular politicians in the country and even
his supporters are leaving the party or advising people to vote for the leading
two candidates in the presidential elections, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
voters now see Madrazo's PRI as a symbol of corruption and inefficiency, despite
his pledges to reform the party, and have turned to the PAN and the PRD in the
2006 national elections.
Madrazo attempted a presidential run in 2000 spending
$25 million of state money on his campaign but lost the PRI nomination to Francisco
Labastida who in turn lost the presidency to Fox.
Born in Villahermosa,
Tabasco, Madrazo grew up in a politically connected family. His father Carlos
served as the state's governor and became the president of PRI. When he was 17,
his parents died in a plane crash historians think was arranged to kill his father,
according to the Washington Post.
He served as a member of Congress from
1976-79 and 1991-93 and as a senator from 1988-91, according to the International
Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Madrazo earned a law degree
from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a master's in urban development
from the University of California.
He has been married three times. His
current wife, Isabel de la Parra, told the Associated Press that she was keeping
a low profile and will not get involved in her husband's campaign.