MEXICO CITY: The campaign for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election began in earnest on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as the country’s top parties officially nominated their candidates, with all three front-runners trying to sell a message of change.
It is still a wide-open race to succeed President Enrique Peña Nieto, who is deeply unpopular heading into the final stretch of his six-year term in a Mexico beset by endless corruption scandals and record levels of violent crime.
The candidate to beat is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, a fiery leftist who has tried to present a mellower image this time around, and who has taken a growing lead in the polls.
In second place is Ricardo Anaya of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), a youthful ex-lawmaker whose bid to campaign as a fresh face has been hurt by allegations of corruption and strong-arming his way to his party’s nomination.
Rounding out the top three is respected former finance minister Jose Antonio Meade, standing for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—a long-dominant force in Mexican politics whose popularity is now so low it tapped a non-party member to be its presidential candidate for the first time in its history.
Lopez Obrador, a two-time presidential runner-up whose critics hate him as fervently as his supporters love him, promised sweeping change for Mexico as he accepted his Morena party’s nomination
He vowed to overhaul public health and education, end the privatization of state resources and improve life for the poor.