Mexican leftist increases lead
MEXICAN leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has seen his lead ahead of July’s presidential election increase, while the ruling party’s contender has slipped slightly, according to an opinion poll published in a local newspaper yesterday.
The former Mexico City mayor, who has already run twice for presidency, leads the pack of hopefuls with 27.1% in February, up 3.5 percentage points from January, according to the pollster Mitofsky’s survey published in El Economista newspaper.
Former finance minister Jose Antonio Meade, of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, came in third with 18.0%, down from 18.2%.
Ricardo Anaya, former leader of the centre-right National Action Party, ranked second with 22.3%, up from 20.4% in the prior survey, the poll said. Anaya resigned in December to pursue the presidency in an alliance with the centre-left Party of the Democratic Revolution.
Earlier this week, a top foreign advisor to Lopez Obrador said that the presidential hopeful would seek close ties with the US, but that it would also pursue other trade options.
Veteran diplomat Hector Vasconcelos echoed Lopez Obrador’s position that Mexico should suspend talks to rene- gotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement until a new government was elected in July, and said Mexico had other trade options.
The collapse of Nafta would not be a disaster for Mexico, he said, adding that Mexico should depend less on the US and not interfere with regional neighbours.
“We have alternatives, if for any reason we don’t manage a good renegotiation of the free trade deal ,” Vasconcelos said in an interview. “There are other possibilities for trade and investment in other parts of the world,” such as Europe and Asia, said Vasconcelos, who was formerly Mexico’s ambassador in Denmark, Norway and Iceland.
The US takes about 80% of Mexico’s exports, despite numerous international trade deals. The government has stepped up efforts to diversify to other markets in response to US President Donald Trump’s threats to scrap the 1990s-era Nafta.
Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, has a double-digit lead over his nearest rival in opinion polls on the July 1 election. The diplomat pushed back at political rivals who say that Lopez Obrador’s policies would take Mexico down a route similar to crisis-hit Venezuela, but said he did not support US sanctions on Venezuela. – Reuters
OUT IN FRONT: Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s lead in the run up to July’s election has increased.