How Did AMLO Become the Frontrunner in Mexico’s Elections?

Photo by Eneas De Troya | CC BY 2.0

The presidential election scheduled for July 1, 2018 in Mexico appears to favor Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), a center-left populist candidate who almost won in 2006 and 2012 and on both occasions accused “the mafia of the powerful” of having stolen the elections. The AMLO of 2018 is, verbally speaking, more moderate than the one who, at one of the various marches that drew more than a million people to denounce the fraud of 2006, said: “To hell with the institutions” in apparent reference to the government in general but, according to his subsequent clarifications, was only a reference to the electoral authorities.

AMLO’s current party is Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA). He abandoned the center-left PRD after the election of 2012 to found what was intended to be a more progressive and less corrupt party. The PRD has subsequently lost most of its members and has moved farther to the right, to the extreme of allying itself with the Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN), the traditional conservative party which was the base of recent presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, both of whom have now left the party. Calderón’s wife is now an independent candidate for president. The candidate of the PAN-PRD coalition this year is Ricardo Anaya, a young real estate speculator and party official.

How did AMLO, a man denounced as “a danger for Mexico” “an authoritarian” and “a populist like Hugo…

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