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Felipe Calderon

president, Mexico

Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa is a Mexican politician and current President of Mexico, having been elected in a controversial 2006 election. A member of the PAN (Partido de Accion Nacional/National Action Party) Party, Calderón is a social conservative but a fiscal liberal. Calderon comes from a political family. His father, Luis Calderon Vega, was one of several founders of the PAN party, at a time when Mexico was basically ruled by one party only, the PRI or Revolutionary Party. An excellent student, Felipe earned degrees in law and economics in Mexico before going to Harvard University, where he received a Masters of Public Administration. He joined the PAN as a young man and quickly proved capable of important posts within the party structure. Calderon served as a representative in the Federal Chamber of Deputies, which is a little like the House of Representatives in United States Politics. In 1995 he ran for governor of the state of Michoacan, but lost to Lazaro Cardenas, another son of a famous political family. He nevertheless went on to national prominence, serving as national chairman for the PAN party from 1996 to 1999. When Vicente Fox (who is also a member of the PAN party) was elected president in 2000, Calderon was appointed to several important posts, including director of Banobras, a state-owned development bank, and Secretary of Energy. A social conservative, Calderon opposes issues such as gay marriage, abortion (including the “morning-after” pill), euthanasia and contraception education. His administration has been fiscally moderate to liberal, however. He is in favor of free trade, lower taxes and privatization of state-controlled businesses.