Mexico City, March 31 (IANS) Mexico’s presidential race has officially begun with four contenders competing for the nation’s highest office.
Leading in the polls is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a longtime leader of Mexico’s progressive sectors who has served as mayor of Mexico City and ran for the presidency twice before, reports Xinhua news agency.
Lopez Obrador is the candidate of the “Together We Will Make History” coalition comprised the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), a party he founded in 2014, the Workers’ Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (PES).
His lead is largely fuelled by discontent with Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose candidate is former finance minister Jose Antonio Meade, currently in third place.
The PRI is perceived as being soft on corruption, but with more than 70 uninterrupted years in power from 1929 to 2000 and again from 2012 to the present. Thus, the party’s strength lies in its powerful institutional organization.
Ricardo Anaya, who ranked second in the polls, is a young but ambitious politician who climbed up the ranks of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). His candidacy alienated some within the party who backed Margarita Zavala, who is the the wife of former president Felipe Calderon.
Also for the first time, some half a million Mexicans residing abroad will be able to take part in the July 1 elections.
The candidates are already very familiar to the electorate since the official campaign season, which runs through June 27, was preceded by a pre-campaign period that began in December 2017.
More than 80 million registered voters will choose some of the 500 federal deputies and 128 senators that make up the national legislature.