Mexican electoral campaign starts
December 15, 2017
On 14 December, pre-campaigning officially began ahead of Mexico’s presidential and congressional elections on 1 July next year.
Significance: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the early frontrunner in the presidential race, was up and running immediately, presenting a full 16-member cabinet list containing an equal balance of men and women. A day earlier López Obrador registered his candidacy at the head of a coalition - Juntos haremos historia (‘Together we’ll make history’) - forged between his radical left-wing Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) party, the leftist Partido del Trabajo (PT) party, and (an eleventh-hour addition) the socially conservative Partido Encuentro Social (PES) party.
The 60-day pre-campaign period will serve little purpose for the presidential elections as only Ricardo Anaya, the pre-candidate for the Por México al Frente coalition between the right-wing opposition Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) party, the left-wing Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) party, and leftist Movimiento Ciudadano (MC) party, looks likely to face an internal contest, and even that is not certain. PAN Senators Ernesto Ruffo of Baja California and Juan Carlos Romero Hicks of Guanajuato, both former governors, have indicated their intention to stand but they will need to gather the signatures of 10% of the PAN’s 282,000 members by 7 January to force an internal election against Anaya on 11 February.
Anaya launched his pre-campaign in the central state of Querétaro, a PAN stronghold. José Antonio Meade, the candidate for the federally ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) launched his pre-campaign in the southernmost state of Chiapas, the bastion of the PRI’s main coalition partner, the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM). The Partido Nueva Alianza (Panal) also joined Meade’s coalition.
López Obrador launched his campaign in Mexico City, where he became the first presidential candidate ever to present a full cabinet right at the start of an electoral campaign. Most eye-catching among his proposed ministers were Olga Sánchez Cordero, a former supreme court magistrate (1995-2015), as interior minister, and Esteban Moctezuma, a cabinet minister in the PRI federal administration led by Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000), as education minister.
Looking Ahead: Now that all the principal presidential candidates have, to all intents and purposes, been decided opinion polls will become more meaningful.
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