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Business leader González, left, and leftist politician AMLO: hugs and baseball. Business leader González, left, and leftist politician AMLO: hugs and baseball.

Business will respect, work with whoever wins—even AMLO

Business group held private meetings with candidates

An organization of most of Mexico’s leading business magnates has promised that it will respect and work with whoever wins the July 1 presidential election.

The president of the Mexican Business Council (CMN) made the announcement following separate talks behind closed doors yesterday with the four candidates.

Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, who is also head of the cinema chain Cinépolis, said in a statement that the CMN presented a long-term economic plan to the candidates entitled “Vision 2030.”

The plan encompasses six elements in order to achieve a peaceful and economically successful Mexico: security, lawfulness and justice, prosperity and innovation, equal opportunity, efficient and transparent governments and sustainability that preserves natural resources.

The business leader said CMN members called on the candidates to work with businesses and citizens to unleash Mexico’s potential and create conditions of economic confidence and legal certainty.

“We need a government that facilitates productive activities and guarantees minimum conditions of lawfulness, justice, peace and opportunities to improve Mexicans’ quality of life,” the statement said.

In an interview later with Milenio Television, the president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) said CMN members had a firm message in their meeting with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose political views are not often shared by business leaders.

Juan Pablo Castañón said they respectfully but firmly expressed their disapproval of discourse that divides Mexicans.

But Castañón also reiterated the private sector’s commitment to collaborate with the winning candidate whoever it is, although he conceded that the leftist’s rhetoric — including pledges to scrap the new Mexico City airport project and review oil contracts — had raised the ire of some businesspeople.

At a press conference in April, Mexico’s richest man and CMN member Carlos Slim told López Obrador he had no reason to interfere in the airport project.

A war of words also erupted between López Obrador and the CMN last month over an alleged plot to prevent the Morena party leader from winning on July 1.

The candidate claimed that five CMN members asked second-place candidate Ricardo Anaya to withdraw a threat to imprison President Enrique Peña Nieto and in exchange they would convince the president to throw the support of the Institutional Revolutionary Party behind the “For Mexico in Front” coalition, whose candidate is Anaya.

The candidate now finds himself with the shoe on the other foot, accused by Anaya’s campaign manager of making a “pact of impunity” with the president himself.

The CMN categorically rejected López Obrador’s claim and was critical of the fact that a presidential candidate “has resorted to personal attacks and unfounded accusations.”

López Obrador later described CMN members as a “greedy minority” that has hijacked the government and charged that “they don’t want to stop stealing.”

Castañón, who attended yesterday’s meetings as a guest, said the differences between the two parties were put on the table but there was no ongoing tension. In fact, there were even hugs.

López Obrador and Claudio X. González, a former CMN president and chairman of Kimberly Clark de México, shared a hug, the latter confirmed, and discussed baseball.

The undertaking to work with the winning candidate, which polls show is very likely to be AMLO, contrasts with the decision of several large businesses to warn their employees against voting for the frontrunner and is perhaps indicative of a realization that he will become president.

The CEO of the food company Herdez, which was reportedly one of those that requested their employees to cast a “reasoned vote,” told the newspaper Milenio on his way out that the meeting with López Obrador had been positive and denied that his company was concerned about the prospect of an AMLO presidency.

“No, there’s never been any fear. Herdez products are made with peace and love,” Héctor Hernández-Pons said, borrowing one of the frontrunner’s favorite catchphrases.

Regardless of who’s in office, Castañón said, the business community’s number-one priority would continue to be Mexico.

“Our conviction is with Mexico. Independently of who wins, we will continue investing in and collaborating with Mexico, seeking more investment, employment and solutions to problems,” he said.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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