Mexico’s ruling party may have won a bruising electoral battle with its leftist arch-enemy at the weekend, but the narrow victory showed how momentum has swung behind him in the run-up to next year’s presidential race.
Veteran campaigner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has led early polls for the 2018 vote, and his new National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) came close to seizing the main bastion of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Sunday’s gubernatorial vote in the State of Mexico.
Fielding a little-known former school teacher as candidate, the three-year-old MORENA picked up more votes than the other two main opposition parties combined to lift Lopez Obrador’s hopes of making it third time lucky in his bid for Mexico’s top job.
“We feel strengthened,” Lopez Obrador, who finished in second place in the 2006 and 2012 elections, said on Monday in a video in which he disputed the results of Sunday’s vote. “Because MORENA is the party that’s growing fastest.”