Mexico’s Coming Presidential Shakeup

    Ana Quintana

    Politics, North America

    Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gives a thumb up to supporters as he leaves a campaign rally in Mexico City, Mexico

    Less than a week before Mexico’s elections, there is little doubt who will be the next president.

    Less than a week before Mexico’s elections, there is little doubt who will be the next president. Barring any major development, leftist populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is projected to win by a wide margin of 52 percent. In second place with 26 percent is Ricardo Anaya, representing a coalition of the center-leaning National Action Party (PAN) and leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). Trailing in third is the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Antonio Meade, with only 19 percent.

    This is not AMLO’s first time running for the presidency. Back in 2012, he lost to current president, Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), by 7 points, and in 2006 by less than 1 percent, leading his followers to believe the election was stolen. At over 50 percent of the expected vote, there is little holding him back from moving into Los Pinos.

    AMLO’s own statements have raised concerns about the future of Mexico under the populist leader. His aggressive stance against the free market have worried investors, who are delaying commitments. Likewise, his proposal to grant amnesty to drug traffickers raises concerns about U.S.-Mexico cooperation on countering crime and drugs.

    His plan to combat corruption, a central tenet of his campaign, has yet to be announced even days before the election. He has a particular hostility towards the energy sector, and his vow to review all existing energy contracts is interpreted as a threat to the industry.

    Yet AMLO’s popularity is soaring among the majority of Mexicans, who are tired of the two-ruling party’s inability to stem corruption, poverty and violence.

    For seventy-one years, the PRI dominated Mexican politics and maintained power through patronage networks in both the public and private sector. The transition to the PAN in 2000 did little to correct the imbalances. Politicians maintained power sharing agreements with organized criminal groups, allowing both to flourish.

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