Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico party selects first woman presidential candidate

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Media captionJosefina Vazquez Mota on being selected: "What a historic night"

Mexico's governing conservative party has for the first time selected a woman candidate to run in the country's presidential election.

Former education minister Josefina Vazquez Mota beat Ernesto Cordero, the preferred candidate of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The National Action Party (Pan) is the first major party in Mexico to choose a woman to compete for the presidency.

Mexicans will go to the polls on 1 July.

Ms Vazquez Mota beat Mr Cordero, the former finance minister, by almost 20%, reports the BBC's Will Grant in Mexico City.

However, she still faces an uphill struggle in the election, our correspondent says.

Opinion polls place her some distance behind the current frontrunner, Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate of the party which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party).

The third main candidate in the election is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who narrowly lost the vote six years ago to President Calderon.

After weeks of speculation, the campaign proper will now begin in earnest, our correspondent adds.

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