Mexico’s presidential campaign came to a close Wednesday as the remaining candidates made their final appeal to voters ahead of elections on July 1.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the white-haired and clean-shaven leftist who is favored to win, fired up nearly 100,000 supporters in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium with a spirited anti-establishment and anti-corruption address.
López Obrador would be the first left-leaning leader the country has had in decades, taking out the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and their conservative counterparts that López Obrador refers to as the “elite” and the “mafia of power.”
A survey for the Mexican newspaper Reforma reported that López Obrador holds 51 percent support, which would hand him his first presidential win after failed efforts in 2006 and 2012. (RELATED: Here Is The Man Leading In Mexico’s Presidential Race Who Calls Immigration A Human Right)
His main rivals trailed behind, with the conservative Ricardo Anaya polling at 27 percent and ruling party candidate Jose Antonio Meade receiving 19 percent.
“The country will be cleansed,” López Obrador announced to his audience, promising to rid the country of the violence and corruption that he claims the establishment government has allowed to pervade the country for years.
He also pledged to pursue a “radical” governmental agenda that would cut the president’s salary in half, raise pensions for Mexico’s elderly, and pull the economy out of the hands of drug cartels.
A large part of López Obrador’s support comes not only from promises of change, but also from the country’s desire to get rid of the PRI, who many feel is responsible for the lagging economy and rampant crime.
“More of the same, no way, we are tired of it,” Eloisa Zuniga, a supporter at the rally in Mexico City, told The Associated Press. “We want greater security, less violence and more transparency. Let’s see if we get it now.”
López Obrador has used establishment fatigue to tap into the dissatisfaction of the Mexican people, much like U.S. President Donald Trump did in 2016.
“Many people don’t even want to vote for López Obrador. I think what they want is for the PRI not to remain in power,” Elena Poniatowska, Mexican journalist and author told told the Financial Times.
López Obrador told his audience that he’d work with the U.S. government to reduce the amount of immigrants who move to the U.S. because of joblessness and poverty, but Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday that he believes López Obrador will be the least likely to cooperate with Trump.
Critics of López Obrador cite his stubbornness and sometimes severe language, also mirroring Trump’s nature, as a sign of authoritarian tendencies. Wood echoed this sentiment, saying he could see López Obrador being less interested in a system of checks and balances and more interested in treating the presidency as a position to solely call the shots.
López Obrador posted a video of his rally on his official Twitter page. He also tweeted “Juntos haremos historia” translated to “Together we’ll make history,” which is his political coalition that encompasses the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the Labor Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (PES).
Elections will take place on July 1 and the new president will take office Dec. 1.
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