MEXICO CITY – A former economy secretary and foreign minister of Mexico, Luis Ernesto Derbez, who has been out of politics since 2009, said on Tuesday that his experience and capacity for disruption make him the best possible candidate for the conservative National Action Party (PAN) in the 2018 presidential elections.
“I’m disruptive, I’m an outsider, I haven’t been immersed in Mexican politics for the last eight years and that gives me a special vision. I understand people’s problems and can interpret and solve them,” Derbez, current rector of the University of the Americas in Puebla (UDLAP), said in an interview with EFE.
Derbez, 70, announced several weeks ago that he asked for a leave of absence from his position as rector in order to stand for the PAN candidacy for the 2018 presidential elections.
Up to now, at least three politicians have expressed their interest in being the PAN nominee: Margarita Zavala, wife of former President Felipe Calderon; Ricardo Anaya, current head of the PAN party; and former Gov. Manuel Moreno Valle.
Former President Vicente Fox, for whom Derbez was a close collaborator, said several days ago that the possible candidates might have “political intelligence” but they lack maturity.
However, he pointed to the Derbez candidacy and foresaw an alliance with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
“I have a previous experience,” said the university rector who, halfway joking, said he would seek the explicit support of the ex-president.
“He saw how I work and anyway, I come with proposals,” Derbez said.
According to the candidacy hopeful, an element in his favor is his experience, both in the government – as secretary of the economy and foreign minister – and as a World Bank official between 1983-1997.
“When I was secretary of the economy, of the 10 sectoral programs we promoted, seven are responsible for 80 percent of Mexico’s exports,” he said.
Additionally, in his post as foreign minister he also had to take a position on the Iraq war, and Mexico refused to support the United States.
“We faced a tough situation with the United States, but we resolved it and upheld the good name of Mexico,” he said so it sounded relevant to the current moments of tension the two countries are going through, especially over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
He also added that in the educational area, he managed to take the reins of a university, the UDLAP, and make it into the “best private education in Mexico.”
All that proves, he said, that he is able to lead “key sectors” of the nation.