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Mexican Presidential Campaign Begins
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December 20, 2011

A woman has ink applied to her finger after casting her ballot during Mexico's 2010 elections. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

Mexico City, Mexico - The campaign for Mexico’s 2012 presidential election has officially started, the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, said.

"The campaign phase commenced across the country and with it the IFE assumes responsibility for managing the 48 minutes daily on radio and television stations that the Mexican state is entitled to," the agency said in a statement.

A 2007 reform gave the IFE exclusive power to acquire time on radio and television stations for advertising by candidates and parties. A total of 2,335 radio and television stations started broadcasting 96 daily spots on Sunday.

"Starting today and until July 1, the IFE becomes the sole manager of the state’s airtime on radio and television," the elections agency said on Sunday.

The radio and television outlets were notified a month ago about campaign advertising and 246 spots were submitted to them a week ahead of the official start of the campaign, the IFE said.

Mexico will hold its presidential election on July 1, 2012, selecting a successor to President Felipe Calderón.

Some 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote for a new president, 628 legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto has been selected as the candidate of the Compromiso por Mexico coalition formed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, the Mexican Green Party, or PVEM, and the New Alliance Party, or PANAL.

Former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is awaiting formal confirmation of his candidacy for the alliance formed by the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, the Workers Party, or PT, and the Movimiento Ciudadano.

The conservative National Action Party, or PAN, which is going it alone in the election, has not decided on a candidate yet.

Josefina Vazquez Mota, Santiago Creel and Ernesto Cordero have met all the requirements to compete for the PAN’s nomination, the National Elections Commission, or CNE, said over the weekend.