Independent Presidential Candidates

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Mexico has only permitted independent candidacies to run for the presidency since the 2012 constitutional reforms. In order to be included in the voter ballot, independent candidates approved by the National Electoral Institute (INE) must collect signatures from 1 percent of the national voter roll (or 866,593 signatures for this election). These signatures must also be distributed among at least 17 federal states or districts and must comprise at least 1 percent of the registered voters in each. This process must be completed within 120 days, between Oct. 16 and Feb. 19.

For the 2018 elections, aspiring independent candidates had until Oct. 9 to register their intent to run with the INE. However, because of the Sept. 9 earthquake in Mexico City, the deadline was extended to Oct. 14. A total of 86 candidates had registered their intention to run, with eight candidates declared ineligible to run for failing to meet some requirements as of Oct. 18. In addition, 38 candidates are in the process of substantiating their compliance with elections rules, and 40 candidates have received permission to begin collecting signatures as of midnight on Oct. 16. For up-to-date information on how many signatures each independent candidate has collected, visit (Spanish).


 Main Contenders



María de Jesús Patricio Martínez

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, colloquially known as “Marichuy,” is an indigenous medicine woman from Tuxpan, Jalisco, who is known as a prominent activist for Mexican human rights. She has devoted herself to preserving traditional medicinal practices. She is the director of La Casa de Salud Calli Tecolhuacateca Tochan, a community health center in Tuxpan, where she advances and records her findings about traditional medicine and herbology.

Martínez is an outspoken combatant of machismo in Mexican society, as well as an advocate for the revitalization of indigenous communities throughout the country. The community of Tuxpan nominated Martínez to represent their interests in a Zapatista-led National Indigenous Forum.

Martínez was elected by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) as the indigenous representative for the upcoming national elections. She officially registered as an independent candidate with the INE on Oct. 7, 2017. Rather than aiming to win the presidency, she hopes that her participation in the race will continue to shed light on issues faced by the millions of indigenous people in Mexico, and she aspires to garner both governmental and domestic support for these issues.  


Edgar Ulises Portillo Figueroa

Edgar Ulises Portillo Figueroa is an independent candidate currently in the running for the presidency of Mexico. He is a professor at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Mexico (UAEM). Portillo holds a Ph.D. in political and social sciences from UAEM, a master’s in public administration from the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Administración, a B.A. in law from Universidad Tecnológica de México and a B.A. in administration from Universidad YMCA.


Armando Rios Piter

Armando Ríos Piter is seeking to run for the presidency as an independent candidate. He is a senator for the state of Guerrero but is currently on leave due to his campaign. Rios Piter holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and law from the Autonomous Technical Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), respectively. He also received a master’s degree in national security from Georgetown University and has completed some graduate studies in public administration at Harvard University. Prior to being elected senator, Rios Piter was a federal deputy for the state of Guerrero and the leader of its PRD caucus. He was also the state’s secretary of rural development and worked on agrarian reform policy. Rios Piter is currently collecting the required signatures to be placed on the ballot but has repeatedly called for the INE to simplify the signature collection process. 


Jaime Rodríguez Calderón

Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, commonly referred to as “El Bronco,” is an independent candidate for Mexico’s presidency. Rodríguez Calderón holds a bachelor’s in agricultural engineering from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León. After completing his education, he became affiliated with the PRI and began his political career, serving as mayor of the city of García and as a local representative and federal deputy in the 1990s. In 2015, he became the first independent candidate to become elected governor of any state, winning governorship of the state of Nuevo León.

He officially announced his candidacy on Oct. 4, 2017, during the registration window for independent candidates. He proceeded to register as an independent presidential candidate with the INE on Oct. 15 and has begun collecting signatures alongside his fellow presidential hopefuls. Should Rodríguez Calderón continue running, Mexican electoral law will require him to resign the governorship of Nuevo Leon by the end of 2017, something he has not yet publicly addressed.


Margarita Zavala

Margarita Zavala is an independent presidential candidate and former first lady of Mexico. She initially sought the National Action Party’s (PAN) nomination until September 2017, when the party announced that it would form a coalition with the PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano. The wife of former President Felipe Calderón, Zavala holds a bachelor's degree in law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho of Mexico. She also has held teaching positions at the Iberoamerican University and Asuncion Institute and worked for several law firms early in her career before turning to politics, becoming an active member of PAN. Zavala was a member of the Federal District’s Legislative Assembly from 1994 to 1997 and of the Chamber of Deputies from 2003 to 2006. She also advocated for the creation of the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres).

Zavala announced her candidacy for the upcoming presidential race on June 14, 2015, via a video posted on various social media outlets. On October 6, 2017, Zavala announced that she would be leaving the PAN, arguing that its alliance with the PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano precluded her candidacy and that the party’s leadership was seeking to impede her nomination. She registered with the National Electoral Institute (INE) as an independent candidate on Oct. 12, 2017.


Other candidates 

The following candidates have successfully registered before the INE and were cleared to begin collecting signatures on Oct. 16:

  • Mauricio Ávila Medina
  • Ricardo Azuela Espinoza
  • Francisco Javier Becerril López
  • Alejandro Daniel Garza Montes De Oca
  • Jorge Cruz Gómez
  • Pablo Jaime Delgado Orea
  • Gerardo Dueñas Bedolla
  • Silvestre Fernández Barajas
  • Marco Ferrara Villarreal
  • Pedro Ferriz De Con
  • Dante Figueroa Galeana
  • José Francisco Flores Carballido
  • Mario Fabian Gómez Pérez
  • Wendolin Gutiérrez Mejía
  • María Concepción Ibarra Tiznado
  • José Antonio Jaime Reynoso
  • Fernando Eduardo Jalili Lira
  • Gustavo Javier Jiménez Pons Mejía
  • Ángel Martínez Juárez
  • Roque López Mendoza
  • Carlos Antonio Mimenza Novelo
  • Gerardo Mojica Neria
  • Porfirio Moreno Jiménez
  • Gonzalo Navor Lanche
  • Pedro Sergio Peñaloza Pérez
  • Luis Modesto Ponce De León Armenta
  • Edgar Ulises Portillo Figueroa
  • Armando Ríos Piter
  • María Elena Rodríguez Campia Romo
  • Francisco Javier Rodríguez Espejel
  • Manuel Antonio Romo Aguirre
  • Eustacio Esteban Salinas Treviño
  • Gabriel Salgado Aguilar
  • Rodolfo Eduardo Santos Dávila
  • Alfonso Trujano Sanchez
  • Aischa Vallejo Utrilla
  • Antonio Zavala Mancillas


Page content last updated on Jan. 10, 2018