Looking for a Left Turn in Mexico

3/7/2017 The North American Congress on Latin America

Flickr/Eneas de Troya

On February 12th of this year, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of the new Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (Movement for National Regeneration, MORENA) spoke to hundreds of followers at the historic Plaza Olvera in downtown Los Angeles. The reverence he evokes among his followers was on full display at the event; some people reported they drove hundreds of miles with their children so they could listen to AMLO, as he is popularly known. His visit to Los Angeles marked an opening gambit in what, by all accounts, will be a hard fought contest to determine Mexico’s next president on July 1, 2018.

López Obrador’s visit to Los Angeles underscores that preparations for the Mexican presidential elections are clearly underway. The former head of the government of Mexico City (2000-2005) and presidential candidate in 2006 and 2012 leads a crowded list of contenders who are testing the electoral waters.

Other potential presidential candidates who have surfaced include Margarita Zavala Gómez, wife of former president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), Ricardo Anaya Cortés, the president of the Partido Acción Nacional (Party of National Action, PAN), Miguel Ángel Mancera, the current head of the Mexico City government, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the minister of interior in the present government of Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), and Jaime Rodríguez “El Bronco” Calderón, a so-called independent governor of the northern state of Nuevo León. For its part, the Congreso Nacional Indígena (National Indigenous Congress, CNI) and its allies have indicated that they will run a yet to be determined Indigenous woman for president.

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