Though Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections are still 23 months away, last Sunday left wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) launched his candidacy backed by the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), which he founded two years ago.
AMLO is the first candidate to throw his hat into the ring. This, however, is not news for Mexicans as AMLO has been running for president since 2005. He lost the 2006 election by less than a 1 percent margin to National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderón and then the 2012 one to Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) nominee Enrique Peña Nieto, this time by 6 percent.
“Third time’s the charm,” AMLO said in his home state of Tabasco upon launching his bid, even going somewhat against National Electoral Institute (INE) regulations that has its own “timing” that AMLO is not abiding by.
“I want to be as clear as possible,” he told thousands of followers. “We don’t have to wait. We must act and count the days to put an end to this nightmare,” he said, meaning the President Peña Nieto administration.
For now AMLO has leapfrogged all other potential contenders to run for president as they are playing by their own party’s rules. Here’s an indefinite list of AMLO’s potential contenders, by political party:
At the governing PRI, tightly ruled over by President Peña Nieto, there are a host of potential hopefuls holding key government posts. The leading PRI potential nominee is no doubt Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray, whose only shortcoming is that he is undergoing turbulent financial times with gasoline price increases, as well as not being able to control the still soaring government expenditures, many of which, economists claim, are being squandered in bad projects and corruption.
Also in contention at PRI is Interior secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong who is being worn down by the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) union rebellion against Peña Nieto’s Education Reform.
A third potential candidate is Social Development Secretary José Antonio Meade Kuribreña who does not waste a second in promoting himself as the government’s do-gooder, giving the poor handouts paid, of course, by tax payers’ money.
Pundits claim that former PRI president Manlio Fabio Beltrones is back in the PRI race.
But in any case, at PRI, candidacies have always been resolved by “the finger” and President Enrique Peña Nieto who sooner than later, given AMLO’s early jumpstart, has to appoint someone soon.
At PAN the “Hillary syndrome” is taking place as former first lady Margarita Zavala, wife to Felipe Calderón, has made a definite move to gain the party’s nomination. She’s so much a follower of Hillary Clinton that she even attended the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia as an observer.
Also in the race for the nomination at PAN is party president Ricardo Anaya Cortés, who has been vying to be the nominee for years now. He is an articulate young man whose time has come. His problem is that former president Calderón is rooting for his wife.
At the also socialist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) the obvious candidate appears to be Mexico City mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, who recently pushed former Air Stewardesses Union leader Alejandra Barrales into the PRD leadership. Mancera’s problem is that he is not, and refuses to register as, a PRD member. But in the PRD, a party in political distress after AMLO split to form Morena, taking with him a good chunk of the voting membership, there is no one else.
These are days of name dropping for potential nominees, but at least for now AMLO is the only officially named candidate, and as such he has grown because as he put it, “we don’t have to wait.”