Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto (C) greets supporters at the start of his presidential campaign in Guadalajara, Mexico, early on March 30, 2012.
Candidates from three major parties for Mexico’s presidency have officially launched their campaign for the July vote, with the main opposition party favored to win.
Candidates kicked off their campaigns right after midnight on Friday, the first day of the campaign season under the country's election laws.
The front-runner is the telegenic former governor of Mexico State, Enrique Pena Nieto, of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which hopes to regain the power it lost in 2000 after 71 years of rule.
Nieto closest opponent is Josefina Vazquez Mota, the first woman presidential candidate from a major political party in Mexico, standing for the governing Christian Democrat party, the PAN.
Another candidate is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is making his second run for presidency for the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. He narrowly lost the 2006 election.
Successor to the incumbent President Felipe Calderَn, will take over a country with a raging drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006, and a slow-growing economy that has been left in the dust by fast-growing emerging markets like Brazil and India.
All three candidates have vowed to bring peace to Mexico and to improve the country’s economy.
There are a potential 78 million voters due to cast their ballots on July 1, and as many as a third are still undecided.