Populist as President Emerges as Option for Beleaguered Mexicans

6/1/16 Bloomberg

veracruzDisgust with corruption in Mexico is so overwhelming that voters on Sunday are entertaining the thought of sacrificing landmark education and economic reforms in exchange for a chance to bring down the politicians they blame for it.

Through the heart of the June 5 elections for governors flow the stirrings of populism, personified by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 62, a two-time presidential contender known as AMLO. He has railed against graft in government, but has also raised concernsin the past that he’d pit the poor against the rest of the country and recently criticized evaluations of teachers, whose protests have grown in some states.

The elections for governors of 12 states will help answer whether his anti-corruption message attracts voters he turned away by his more divisive policies. How his new Morena Party candidates do in the race for states overrun by graft like Veracruz could be a bellwether for the 2018 national elections — and, along the way, the potential for Lopez Obrador’s third try at the presidency.

“I have no doubt Lopez Obrador will end up in first or second place” in the presidential race, said Jose Antonio Crespo, a political analyst at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City. “I don’t think it would be good to have Lopez Obrador as president, but many do think so, because all other alternatives have been used up.”

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