Elba Esther Gordillo was re-elected Saturday as president of Mexico's SNTE teachers union for a six-year term ending in 2018.

The powerful union boss received 3,205 votes from the participating delegates in the SNTE's 6th Extraordinary National Congress, while no votes were cast against her and 22 ballots were left blank.

The lone candidate to head Latin America's largest union, Gordillo was elected after a more than three-hour meeting of delegates representing 1.7 million Mexican teachers.

Known popularly as "La maestra" (The Teacher), Gordillo played a key role in the narrow 2006 victory of outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose government ceded some of its prerogative to overhaul the education system to the SNTE - a reform effort that included competency tests for teachers.

Also in 2006, she was drummed out of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, for helping start a new centrist party, Panal, that put forward its own presidential candidate.

In January, the PRI severed the alliance it had maintained since 2011 with Panal and ratified its coalition with the Mexican Green Party.

Gordillo has inspired admiration and hatred throughout her more than 20-year stint as head of the SNTE, traditionally a pillar of the PRI, which ruled Mexico from 1929 to the 2000 and will return to power in December after Enrique Peña Nieto's victory in the July presidential election.

The extraordinary congress in which Juan Diaz de la Torre also was re-elected as the SNTE's secretary-general ended Saturday in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo. EFE