Former Mexico first lady Margarita Zavala announced this weekend her intent to run for president in the country's 2018 general election. The 47-year-old wife of former president Felipe Calderon, who served from 2006 to 2012, indicated she might campaign as an independent candidate. Zavala formerly worked as a congresswoman for the conservative National Action Party (PAN), of which her husband was also a member, Reuters reported.
"I will put together, hand in hand with the people, a national campaign that of course includes PAN supporters but also those who have voted for other political alternatives and those who have stopped believing in parties," Zavala said Saturday in an online video revealing her intent to run. "Reconciliation with the public is the most important task for those of us who seek to establish a better Mexico."
Zavala seemed to be referring to the climate around Mexico's midterm elections earlier this month, when teachers and student protestors burned ballot boxes and shut down highways to express their discontent with the government. Tension in Mexico -- and anger with President Enrique Peña Nieto -- has been increasing since September, when 43 student activists from Ayotzinapa disappeared after police allegedly gave them to a local gang. Some independent candidates emerged victorious as a result.
Zavala was a well-liked first lady during her husband's time in office, which was dominated by efforts to curb drug gang violence. In recent years, she's worked as an adviser to a family-help group called the National System for Integral Family Development.
In running for president, Zavala said she wanted to fix the "huge gap between politicians and citizens," Deutsche Welle reported. If elected, she would be Mexico's first female president.
Reuters reported that official campaigning won't start until closer to the 2018 election, but Zavala has plans in the meantime. "I am going to travel the country, listen to people, talk about our possibilities and about what we want for the future,” she said.
Watch her campaign announcement video here or below: