From left, Anaya, AMLO and Meade: presidential candidates. From left, Anaya, AMLO and Meade: confirmed candidates.

Six appear to be in running for president

López Obrador, Anaya, Meade officially declared presidential candidates

The three leading presidential hopefuls formally accepted their parties’ nominations yesterday, while three independent candidates are poised to join them on the ballot for the July 1 election.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Ricardo Anaya and José Antonio Meade held competing rallies in Mexico City at which they articulated their campaign platforms in their official acceptance speeches.

López Obrador, the candidate for the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena party, promised that if he succeeds in winning the election he will fulfill all of his campaign promises.

“There will be no disappointment,” declared the 64-year-old veteran of Mexican politics.

Widely known as AMLO, the candidate also said that he will act “with stubbornness . . . and perseverance verging on madness” to put an end to corruption.

Among the 56 commitments outlined by the current front-runner in the polls were to stamp out nepotism in the government, reduce the salaries of high-ranking officials, disband the intelligence agency CISEN, rigorously punish human rights violations and not raise taxes.

The third-time candidate also addressed United States President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal.

“If he insists on building the wall, we’re going to turn to the United Nations to defend the rights of Mexicans,” López Obrador said. “I’m conscious of my historic responsibility,” he added.

Also supporting López Obrador’s candidacy are the Labor Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (PES), forming a coalition called Together We’ll Make History.

At the National Auditorium, Ricardo Anaya officially became the candidate for the right-left coalition known as For Mexico in Front.

The three-way alliance is made up of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the smaller Citizens’ Movement Party (MC).

Anaya, 38, is the youngest of the candidates but in his acceptance speech he declared that he was well and truly prepared to take on the top job.

“I’m ready so that together we achieve the change that Mexico needs today,” he said.

He too pledged to put an end to corruption as well as spiraling levels of violence and inequality.

In a thinly veiled attack on López Obrador, Anya said “what Mexico needs is not a messiah . . . what Mexico needs is the unequivocal enforcement of the law.”

He also said that he would increase the minimum wage and improve education to support an economy that is based on “knowledge” rather than “manufacturing.”

Anaya also took a swipe at the current administration, charging that it had allowed the United States to walk all over Mexico.

“Mexico will never again be treated like a doormat for the United States, as it has been in this government,” he declared.

The third major party candidate, José Antonio Meade, will represent an alliance led by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) but also including the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) and the New Alliance Party (PANAL).

In his speech, the former finance secretary said that if he wins the election, Mexicans will receive personal support from the government he leads.

“Needs are always personal; the support of the government will be as well . . .” he said, adding that the support would include things such as scholarships, medicine and backing for small businesses.

Meade’s candidacy represents the first time ever that the PRI has chosen a candidate from outside its own ranks.

Meade previously served as a cabinet secretary in Felipe Calderon’s PAN administration and the party hopes that he can appeal to voters across party lines.

However, he is lagging a distant third in the polls and faces an uphill battle to prove that he represents change despite representing a party that has been plagued by corruption scandals.

Meade, 48, vowed to crack down on crime and impunity and recognized that many Mexicans are angry about the current state of the country and its political affairs.

“We cannot neglect or ignore society’s demands . . . we have to take charge of expressions of discomfort and disappointment,” he said.

For the first time ever, three independent candidates are also almost certain to appear on the ballot in what will be a crowded six-person race.

Margarita Zavala, Jaime Rodríguez and Armando Ríos Piter have all collected the required number of signatures to qualify to appear on the ballot and are now awaiting verification and ratification of their candidacies from the National Electoral Institute (INE).

Zavala, a former first lady, quit the PAN last year after it became clear that she would not become its candidate, and instead chose to pursue an independent path to the presidency.

Rodríguez, widely known as El Bronco, was the first independent governor of a Mexican state but left his position at the helm of the Nuevo León government at the end of last year to focus on his run at the presidency.

Ríos Piter is a federal senator representing the state of Guerrero.

All three only have single-digit support in polls and analysts doubt that any has a chance of winning but they represent alternatives for voters who are dissatisfied with the government and other major parties.

The indigenous candidate known as Marichuy fell well short of the 866,000 signatures required to appear on the ballot as did another independent aspirant, Pedro Ferriz.

The official campaign period starts at the end of next month.

Political risk analysts at Eurasia Group said Friday that if current polling trends continue “the race will become more competitive between the two front runners,” but added “voter intentions have historically shifted throughout the campaign season, so much could change.”

Source: El Economista (sp)  El Universal (sp), Reuters (en)

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