Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the front-runner for Mexico’s July, 2018 presidential elections, formalised his bid to run for the country’s top office on December 12 and pledged his government would spend more on farmers, the young, and the old.
López Obrador, or AMLO, as he is known, is a leftist politician and president of the National Regeneration Movement party (MORENA). He has run for Mexico’s presidency twice before, losing to Felipe Calderón Hinojosa in 2006 and Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012.
“The national problems are great and serious and we will have to do a lot to achieve the rebirth of Mexico”, López Obrador told a MORENA conference at a hotel in Mexico City, where he registered his intention to run as the party’s presidential candidate (link in Spanish).
In his speech, AMLO promised a raft of measures, including: fighting corruption and electoral fraud in Mexico; fostering Mexico’s ailing agricultural sector; promoting friendly relations with the U.S. but not at the expense of the “mistreatment of migrants nor racist, hegemonic or arrogant attitudes”; decentralising Mexico’s federal system by relocating ministries and federal bodies away from the capital. He also promised state subsidies for students; and perhaps most controversially, opening up a dialogue with victims of drug crime on amnesty for criminals who opt for rehabilitation (two thirds of Mexicans reject this idea, according to a poll published this week).
All this while pledging not to raise new taxes or incurring in more public debt.
Two separate polls published in November by Mexican newspapers El Financiero and El Universal place AMLO ahead of other potential presidential contenders by between five and 15 points, and five and 10 points, respectively.