Margarita Zavala

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Zavala and the second or maternal family name is Gómez del Campo.
Margarita Zavala Gómez de Calderón
Margarita Zavala, December 2015
First Lady of Mexico
In office
December 1, 2006 – November 30, 2012
President Felipe Calderón
Preceded by Marta Sahagún
Succeeded by Angélica Rivera
Member of the
Mexican Chamber of Deputies
by proportional representation
In office
August 29, 2003 – April 01, 2006
Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District
In office
September 15, 1994 – September 14, 1997
Personal details
Born Margarita Ester Zavala Gómez del Campo
(1967-07-25) 25 July 1967 (age 49)
Mexico City, Mexico
Political party Partido Acción Nacional
Spouse(s) Felipe Calderón (m. 1993)
Children María, Luis Felipe, Juan Pablo
Alma mater Escuela Libre de Derecho
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Margarita Zavala de Calderón (Spanish pronunciation: [marɣaˈɾita saˈβala]; born Margarita Ester Zavala Gómez del Campo on 25 July 1967) is a Mexican lawyer and politician. She is the wife of the former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón and served as the First Lady of Mexico during her husband's tenure.

Early life[edit]

Margarita Zavala was born on 25 July 1967 in Mexico City. She is the fifth of seven siblings: Diego Hildebrando, Mercedes, Pablo, Juan Ignacio, Rafael and Mónica. Her parents, Diego Zavala Pérez and Mercedes Gómez del Campo, were lawyers.[1] Her father was a magistrate in the Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Distrito Federal.[2] She attended the Instituto Asunción, an academy run by nuns. She became a youth leader of the Partido Acción Nacional at age 17.[2] She first met Felipe Calderón in 1984, when both were activists for the PAN party. Zavala studied law at the Escuela Libre de Derecho,[1] were she graduated with a 9.5 (out of ten) grade point average.[2] Her thesis, La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos: antecedentes, estructura y propuestas, was on the National Human Rights Commission.[2]


Zavala worked for the private law firms Estrada González y de Ovendo and Sodi y Asociados.[3] Zavala was a Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District between 15 September 1994 and 14 September 1997. Zavala was a professor at the Universidad Iberoamericana (1991-1992) and also taught law at the Instituto Asunción (1990 to 1999), her high-school alma mater.[4] Zavala is a regular op-ed contributor to El Universal.[5]

National Action Party leadership roles[edit]

Zavala has been a national councilor for the National Action Party since 1991,[6] and was the PAN's Legal Director of the National Executive Committee from 1993 to 1994.[7] In 1995, she was a Mexican delegate to the Fourth World Conference on Women.[3] Zavala was named by Luis Felipe Bravo Mena to head the Secretaria de Promoción Política de la Mujer, which is the party's office for the promotion of the participation of women in politics, serving from 1999 to 2003.[7] During her four years as head, the proportion of female PAN federal deputies increased from 19% to 32%, the largest of any political party.[3]

She was part of the transition team of Vicente Fox, advising on women's issues.[3] She was a founding member of the Junta de Gobierno del Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (2001),[2] which is the government office that works toward gender equality and elimination of discrimination and violence against women.

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Zavala was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2003, as part of the LIX Legislature of the Mexican Congress. She was nominated through the National Action Party's list under the principle of proportional representation. She served on three Chamber of Deputies commissions: Commission on Labor and Social Security (2003–06), Commission on Justice and Human Rights (2003–06), Commission on National Defense (2003–06).[8] She was also a member on the Law Studies and Parliamentary Investigations Center Committee (2004–06). Additionally, she served as Sub-Coordinator of Social Politics of PAN's Parliamentary Group.[6] Zavala resigned in April 2006 to campaign for her husband's 2006 bid for the Mexican presidency.[9]

First Lady of Mexico[edit]

First Lady Zavala with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in the Yellow Oval Room, February 2010.

Margarita's primary objective in the changing Mexican government was to help her newly elected husband run the educational programs throughout the country.[10]

As the wife of Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico during 2006-2012, Margarita Zavala was considered "First Lady" although such function is not defined by the legal framework. She is the only First Lady to have served in Congress. She served as president of the civic advisory board to the Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, a government agency that promotes child and family development.

She supported organizations that fight drug addiction and others that help migrant children returning from the United States.[11] She launched an anti-addiction program called Nueva Vida, which plans to have 310 centers nationwide as of 2011.[4] Zavala became a pledged organ and tissue donor upon death in 2009 to help promote organ donation in Mexico.[12]

Post-Calderón presidency[edit]

Speculations surrounding Zavala's political career began after her husband's presidency ended. She was eyed as the possible leader of the National Action Party,[13] as well as a potential presidential candidate in 2018, though in 2013 she declined both.[14][15]

In September 2014, after two years as private citizen, Zavala revealed her intentions of becoming a candidate for the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.[16] On January 2015, Zavala formally registered as a pre-candidate for a term as a Federal Deputy, through the means of proportional representation in the fourth constituency, stating that Mexico required a Congress capable of balancing power.[17] She was backed by several members of her party, including former presidential candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota.[18] However, she was left out of the first 15 places in the PAN's national list, significantly reducing her chances of winning a position in Congress.[19]

A day later, she announced that she would seek the presidency of the PAN, stating that the party needed to change.[20] In February, however, she left open the possibility of running for president in 2018.[21]

Zavala campaigned for various PAN candidates at municipal and state levels during the 2013,[22] 2015[23] and 2016 election cycles.[24]

2018 presidential campaign[edit]

On 14 June 2015, Zavala released a video announcing her desire to run as a presidential candidate in 2018.[25]

While attending the Guadalajara International Book Fair, she was asked for the three books that impacted her life (commonly asked to presidential candidates), to which she answered: the Bible, The Price of My Soul by Bernadette Devlin and Caudillos culturales en la Revolución Mexicana by Enrique Krauze.[26]

Zavala has consistently been the front runner in polls among likely PAN presidential candidates between March and November 2016. She released her 3de3 financial records in December 2016.[27]

Political stances[edit]

Zavala was a proponent for constitutional amendments that would have allowed politicians to seek reelection.[4] Congress members were allowed to seek reelection in 2014 (four terms for the lower house and two for the upper house), while the president remains limited to one term.[28]

Zavala opposes abortion;[11] with her only political declaration during her time as First Lady being the condemnation of the legalization of abortion in Mexico City.[11]

Following the Supreme Court's June 2015 declaration of state laws defining marriage as unconstitutional, Zavala was asked her stance on the matter in an interview on Al Punto to which she responded: the Court has been clear on same-sex marriage, including on a previous challenge to Mexico City's civil code, various resolutions make it jurisprudence and "I do not have any problem".[29]

Personal life[edit]

After six years of dating, she married Felipe Calderón in January 1993. They have three children: María (born 1997), Luis Felipe (born 1999) and Juan Pablo (born 2003).[30] Zavala is a devout Catholic.[1]

On 13 June 2012, Zavala underwent surgery in her right eye to avoid retinal detachment from an injury; she was submitted to emergency surgery following a retinal detachment on 18 October 2016.[31]

Public image[edit]

Zavala became known for wearing rebozos, a traditional shawl.[32] Zavala appeared on the November 2015 cover of Vanity Fair México.[33]

Orders, awards and recognitions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sefchovich, Sara. "Margarita Zavala, la primera dama que no usaba maquillaje". Milenio. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Margarita Zavala, de primera dama a aspirante presidencial". Univision. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Presidente Calderón: Margarita Zavala, esposa del Presidente". El Universal. 1 December 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c Becerril, Andres (16 May 2011). "La progresión de Zavala; sus bonos, más altos que nunca". Excélsior. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Margarita Zavala". El Universal. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Ferrer, Angélica. "Margarita Zavala: la abogada que desea ser presidenta". Milenio. Retrieved 2016-11-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Semblanza Margarita Zavala". Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  8. ^ "SIL :: Sistema de Información Legislativa-PopUp Legislador". Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  9. ^ "La progresión de Zavala; sus bonos, más altos que nunca". Excélsior. 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  10. ^ Vanguardia
  11. ^ a b c Malkin, Elisabeth (19 April 2010). "Mexico's First Lady Quietly Takes Strong Stance". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  12. ^ "Margarita Zavala firma compromiso para donar sus órganos". El Informador. 
  13. ^ "Ven a Margarita Zavala para dirigir el PAN". EL INFORMADOR. Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  14. ^ "'No iré por la presidencia del PAN': Margarita Zavala - Animal Político". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  15. ^ "Margarita Zavala se descarta para la Presidencia en 2018 | Red Política - El Universal". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  16. ^ "Margarita Zavala 'se destapa' para ser diputada federal en 2015". Excélsior. 2014-09-18. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  17. ^ "Margarita Zavala presenta precandidatura para diputada plurinominal". Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  18. ^ "Margarita Zavala registra su precandidatura a diputada". EL INFORMADOR. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  19. ^ "Margarita Zavala queda fuera de lista de candidatos plurinominales". Excélsior. 2015-01-13. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  20. ^ "Margarita Zavala buscará presidencia nacional del PAN | Red Política - El Universal". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  21. ^ "Margarita Zavala 'alza la mano' para competir por la presidencia en 2018". Expansión (in Spanish). Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  22. ^ "Pide Margarita Zavala votar por el PAN en Coahuila". Excélsior. 30 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Felipe Calderón y Margarita Zavala, en campaña con candidatos del PAN". Expansión (in Spanish). 14 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "PAN ya tiene a su candidata, es Margarita Zavala: Fox". Milenio. 8 June 2016. 
  25. ^ "Former Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala announces presidential bid". DW.COM. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  26. ^ Piñón, Alida. ""De aquí hasta la boleta": Margarita Zavala". El Universal. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  27. ^ "Presenta Margarita Zavala su declaración 3de3". El Universal. 19 December 2016. 
  28. ^ "Mexico ends decades-long ban on re-election". USA TODAY. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  29. ^ Margarita Zavala: “México es un país que desde hace mucho está listo para una presidenta” (video) (in Spanish). YouTube: Univision. 2015. Event occurs at 6 min 15 sec. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  30. ^ Alcauter, Brando. "Las ventajas de ser un Calderón Zavala". Cuna de Grillos. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  31. ^ "Operan de emergencia a Margarita Zavala por desprendimiento de retina - Proceso" (in Spanish). Proceso. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  32. ^ Castaneira, Susana. "El look de las primeras damas de México". El Economista. Retrieved 16 October 2016. Margarita Zavala es promotora de los diseñadores mexicanos... Una de sus prendas predilectas es el rebozo, en diversos eventos tanto nacionales como internacionales gusta de portar esta prenda. 
  33. ^ Berman, Sabina. "La hora de Margarita (¿Y dónde ponemos a Felipe?)". Vanity Fair México. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  34. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marta Sahagún
First Lady of Mexico
Succeeded by
Angélica Rivera