Nine decades of rule by President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico’s most populous state are hanging in the balance in an election that could batter its hopes of keeping power nationally in 2018.
Polls show the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the new party of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, could wrest control of the state of Mexico from the PRI by winning the governorship in the June 4 state election, a result that would ramp up the momentum for his bid to succeed Pena Nieto in 2018.
Headstrong and with more nationalist leanings than the centrist PRI, two-time presidential runner-up Lopez Obrador has led early opinion polls for next year’s contest.
Financial markets are closely watching Lopez Obrador’s progress. If he does win in 2018, it could stoke tensions with the United States after President Donald Trump’s populist broadsides against Mexico during his own election campaign.