Calderon, Felipe


Calderon, Felipe
▪ 2007
 On July 2, 2006, Felipe Calderón of the centre-right National Action Party (PAN) won Mexico's bitterly contested presidential election, and, following a partial vote recount, on September 5 the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Branch officially declared him president-elect. He was inaugurated on December 1, and he would serve as president until 2012.

      Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa was born in Morelia, Michoacán, Mex., on Aug. 18, 1962, to a family closely associated with the PAN. His father was among those who had founded the PAN in 1939, and one of his sisters was later a successful panista candidate for seats in the federal Chamber of Deputies and Senate. Margarita Zavala, whom Calderón married in 1993, also served as a PAN congresswoman. This family background linked him to the party's “blueblood” faction, although during the 1990s he also developed ties with “neo-panistas” such as former Mexican president Vicente Fox.

      Calderón received his primary and secondary education in Catholic schools in Morelia and then studied law at the prestigious Free School of Law in Mexico City. In 1989 he enrolled in a postgraduate economics course at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, and in 1999–2000 he earned a master's degree in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

      Calderón began his rise through the PAN at an early age. He participated in party electoral campaigns as an elementary school student, and he later headed the party's youth organization. Between 1991 and 1994 he represented the PAN in the federal Chamber of Deputies. Calderón became the PAN's secretary-general in 1993 when his political mentor, Carlos Castillo Peraza, assumed the party presidency. In 1996 he succeeded Castillo Peraza as PAN president, a position he held until 1999.

      Fox's historic victory in the 2000 presidential election brought the PAN to national power for the first time. Calderón began the administration as leader (2000–03) of the party's Chamber of Deputies delegation. He subsequently served briefly as general director of the National Bank of Infrastructure and Public Services and then as minister of energy (2003–04). Fox forced him to resign his cabinet position in May 2004 on the grounds that he was campaigning prematurely for the PAN's presidential nomination. In late 2005, however, Calderón decisively defeated Minister of the Interior Santiago Creel in internal party primaries to win the PAN candidacy.

      During the presidential campaign, Calderón initially trailed centre-left candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Calderón closed the gap, however, by promising to be the “jobs president” and by conducting an aggressive media campaign that portrayed his populist opponent as a “danger for Mexico.” The advantages that accrued to the PAN as the incumbent party, Calderón's more-effective use of television advertising, and López Obrador's own mistakes, permitted Calderón to win the election by just 0.56% of the ballots cast.

Kevin J. Middlebrook

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▪ president of Mexico
in full  Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa 
born Aug. 18, 1962, Morelia, Michoacán, Mex.

      politician who became president of Mexico in 2006.

      Calderón studied law at the Free School of Law in Mexico City and later did postgraduate study in economics at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. In 2000 he earned a master's degree in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

      Calderón became involved in politics at an early age. His father helped found the centre-right National Action Party (PAN) in 1939, and, as an elementary student, the younger Calderón campaigned actively for the party. He later headed the PAN's youth organization, and from 1991 to 1994 he represented the party in the federal Chamber of Deputies. Calderón became the PAN's secretary-general in 1993 when his political mentor, Carlos Castillo Peraza, assumed the party presidency. In 1996 he succeeded Castillo Peraza as the PAN president, a position he held until 1999.

      In 2000 the PAN's candidate Vicente Fox (Fox, Vicente) won the presidential elections, ending 71 years of uninterrupted rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). His historic victory brought the PAN to national power for the first time. Calderón was leader (2000–03) of the party's Chamber of Deputies delegation before serving as minister of energy (2003–04). Fox forced him to resign his cabinet position in May 2004 on the grounds that he was campaigning prematurely for the PAN's presidential nomination. In late 2005 Calderón decisively defeated Santiago Creel in internal party primaries to win the PAN candidacy.

      During the presidential campaign in 2006, Calderón initially trailed centre-left candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (López Obrador, Andrés Manuel). He closed the gap, however, by promising to be the “jobs president” and by conducting an aggressive media campaign that portrayed his populist opponent as a “danger for Mexico.” Calderón won the election by just 0.56 percent of the vote. López Obrador challenged the results, claiming voting irregularities and fraud, and a number of protests ensued. Following a partial recount, however, Calderón was officially declared the winner, and he took office on December 1.

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Universalium. 2010.

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