(From Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

Calderón, Felipe

Calderón, Felipe (1962-      ), president of Mexico. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa was born on Aug. 18, 1962, in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. His father, Luis Calderón Vega, had been among the founding members of the pro-business National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) as a student activist in 1939. From a young age Felipe Calderón, along with his mother, Carmen Hinojosa de Calderón, helped in political campaigns. After studying law at Mexico City's prestigious Escuela Libre de Derecho (1987), he obtained master's degrees in economics at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico and in public administration at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (2000). In 1993 Calderón married Margarita Zavala, a PAN activist and later a member of Congress (2003–2006). They have three children.

Calderón rose through the ranks of PAN, becoming the leader of its youth movement in 1986 and then secretary-general of the party (1993–1995). He served a three-year term as president of PAN (1996–1999). At the same time, he was elected to the legislative assembly of the Federal District (1988–1991) and to the federal Chamber of Deputies (1991–1994). He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michoacán in 1995. Returning to the Chamber of Deputies in 2000, he was designated as coordinator of the PAN parliamentary group. Vicente Fox, the first PAN candidate to be elected president of Mexico (2000–2006), named him director-general of the national development bank (Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios Públicos, or Banobras) in 2003 and then appointed him to the cabinet as secretary of energy (2003–2004). Calderón unexpectedly ran for the PAN presidential nomination in the 2005 primaries and defeated Fox's preferred candidate, former interior minister Santiago Creel.

There were three principal contenders in the presidential election of July 2, 2006. Calderón finished first with 35.89% of the vote, leading Andrés Manuel López Obrador, mayor of Mexico City and candidate of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD), by a mere 0.58% of the vote. Roberto Madrazo, candidate of the once dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), finished third with 22.26%. López Obrador refused to concede the election, demanded a full recount, and initiated a series of massive street demonstrations that continued for weeks. After a partial recount, the Federal Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación) declared Calderón president-elect on Sept. 5, 2006.

López Obrador continued to conduct street protests and proclaimed himself the "legitimate president" of Mexico. Calderón was inaugurated in the Congress building on Dec. 1, 2006, while PRD legislators blew whistles in the chamber and up to 100,000 protesters demonstrated outside. The following week—in an effort to undermine López Obrador's support by appropriating his key issues—he announced plans to reduce salaries for himself and other top government officials and to increase spending for education, health insurance for the poor, housing, and public safety. Calderón also promised to combat tax evasion and corruption. The new focus on increased spending, however, meant backing away from his earlier emphasis on job creation through the private sector.