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The president presents raffle ticket design at today's press conference. The president presents raffle ticket design at today's press conference.

Airplane raffle undecided but the tickets have been designed

President says the raffle will probably go ahead; 'the people want to participate'

President López Obrador presented on Tuesday the design of a raffle ticket for the presidential plane even as he admitted that there is no certainty that the raffle will go ahead.

Projected on a screen at the president’s morning news conference, the 500-peso (US $27) ticket features an image of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner used by former President Enrique Peña Nieto and is emblazoned with the words “Premio Mayor Avión Presidencial,” or Top Prize Presidential Plane.

According to the ticket, the “Grand Special Drawing” will be held on May 5 to commemorate the 158th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in which the Mexican army defeated invading French forces.

However, López Obrador clarified that the date was tentative and explained that a final decision about the sale of the plane will not be announced until February 15.

The president first floated the raffle idea earlier this month, explaining that it was one of five options under consideration to get rid of the unwanted plane that failed to sell during the nine months it spent in a hangar in the United States.

The National Lottery could raffle the plane off by selling six million tickets to raise 3 billion pesos (US $160 million), López Obrador said on January 17, explaining that the amount would cover the estimated US $130-million value of the plane.

The idea was widely ridiculed and spawned countless memes but López Obrador nevertheless asserted on Tuesday that the raffle would “very probably” go ahead. He also said that he has received “a lot of support” for the raffle, explaining that “the people” want to participate.

Reading from the ticket, he told reporters, “[The ticket price] is a contribution for medical equipment and hospitals where poor people are attended to free of charge.”

López Obrador suggested that the National Lottery could sell two million tickets to the general public and that the remaining four million could be bought by 100 or 200 companies.

If the plane isn’t sold in the coming days, he added, “we’ll continue with this plan. . .the raffle is very probably going [ahead].”

The president ruled out the possibility of there being any problems with the plane being raffled off because it belongs to “the people of Mexico.”

Asked about an article in the National Lottery Organic Law that stipulates that only cash can be offered as lottery prizes, López Obrador said that his administration was looking at ways to ensure that the raffle is legal.

“To proceed, a complete adjustment to the legal framework has to be made,” he said. “For example, the payment of taxes has to be resolved because the winner of a prize has to pay a tax.”

López Obrador also said that when the final decision about the sale of the plane is announced next month, the government will present the “official history” of the luxuriously-outfitted Dreamliner, which was purchased for US $218 million in 2012 but not delivered until February 2016.

The rundown, he explained, will include information about how much it cost his administration to keep the plane at the Southern California Logistics Airport while a buyer was being sought, because the figure disseminated by the media is “exaggerated.”

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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