Two of Mexico's three largest political parties have said they have not been able to comply with a legal requirement to reserve 40 percent of their congressional candidacies for women, electoral authorities said Saturday.
The position taken by the governing National Action Party, the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and the smaller Green party were the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle to increase women's participation in Mexican politics.
The announcement comes, ironically, as President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party is the country's first major political party to nominate a female candidate for the presidency. Josefina Vazquez Mota is running No. 2 in opinion polls, but generally trails the Institutional Revolutionary Party's candidate by about 10 points.
Leonardo Valdes, the president of Mexico's federal electoral institute, said the three parties had notified him Thursday and Friday that they couldn't meet the requirement.
Valdes said the parties could face "various legal consequences that would affect their participation" in July 1 presidential, senatorial and congressional elections, but did not specify what those consequences might be.
Federal Electoral law says authorities can refuse to register slates of candidates that don't include enough women.
However, the three parties argue that they filled some of their candidacies by primary votes and note that another legal provision exempts candidacies selected in that manner from the gender quota.
Mexico's other large party, the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, appeared ready to comply with the quota.
Mexican parties have struggled to comply with at least the letter of the law since gender requirements were first enacted a decade ago.
Some have been know to run the wives or girlfriends of male politicians for Congress, with the husbands or boyfriends listed as "deputy" or "reserve" replacements should the candidate resign. Upon winning election, the women _ known popularly as "Juanitas" _ promptly resign or take a leave of absence and allow the men to take their seats.