Mexico Elections 2018: Indigenous woman Marichuy to run for president

MEXICO CITY – An indigenous woman has registered to run as an independent candidate in next year’s presidential election in Mexico.

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez also known as Marichuy, is a Mexican Nahua indigenous, traditional healer and human rights activist.

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The 53-year-old is the spokeswoman for the National Indigenous Congress, the political arm of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), and in May was picked to be the group’s 2018 presidential candidate.

The native Nahua speaker is originally from the central Mexican state of Jalisco.

Local media reported that after Patricio Martinez registered with the National Electoral Institute (INE) on Saturday, she pledged not to accept any funding from the government to run her campaign.

The front-runner in most polls is former Mexico City mayor and two-time presidential runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist with nationalistic leanings.

The ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is barred by law from seeking a second term, has yet to pick a candidate.

Already, more than 10 first-time independent candidates have registered to run. Three of those contenders failed to meet initial requirements, according to the INE.

Independent presidential aspirants have four months to gather 866,593 signatures, representing 1 percent of the electorate, in at least 17 regions of Mexico to qualify as an independent candidate ahead of the July 2018 vote.