- Title: Mexico's ruling party battles leftist nemesis in key state vote
- Date: 24th May 2017
- Summary: METEPEC, STATE OF MEXICO, MEXICO (RECENT - MAY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) BILLBOARD FOR RULING PARTY CANDIDATE, ALFREDO DEL MAZO, VOWING AN IRON FIRST TO CRIME
- Embargoed: 7th June 2017 05:59
- Keywords: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador leftist Alfredo del Mazo PRI MORENA state elections President Enrique Pena Nieto State of Mexico Mexico governor Josefina Vazquez Mota Delfina Gomez PAN
- Location: ECATEPEC, METEPEC, AMECAMECA, STATE OF MEXICO; MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: ECATEPEC, METEPEC, AMECAMECA, STATE OF MEXICO; MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0026I750EB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS PROFANE LANGUAGE IN SHOT 21
Nine decades of rule by President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico's most populous state are hanging in the balance in an election that could batter its hopes of keeping power nationally in 2018.
Polls show the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the new party of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, could wrest control of the state of Mexico from the PRI by winning the governorship in the June 4 state election, a result that would ramp up the momentum for his bid to succeed Pena Nieto in 2018.
Financial markets are closely watching Lopez Obrador's progress. If he does win in 2018, it could stoke tensions with the United States after President Donald Trump's populist broadsides against Mexico during his own election campaign.
Castigating Pena Nieto for his government's failure to stamp out political corruption and rising gang violence, Lopez Obrador and his candidate for state governor Delfina Gomez have sought to turn the state campaign into a referendum on PRI rule in the biggest remaining bastion of the ruling party.
Pena Nieto hails from the state on the edge of Mexico City, where one in eight of the country's voters live. Before becoming president, he was governor and then helped his PRI successor win election with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2011.
However, surveys show the PRI struggling to muster half that this time.
A survey by newspaper Reforma in late April showed PRI gubernatorial candidate Alfredo del Mazo with the backing of 28 percent of voters, one percentage point behind Delfina Gomez of Lopez Obrador's MORENA party.
Other surveys also predict a close finish with the centre-right National Action Party, or PAN, some way back in third place.
The PRI is reportedly throwing money at its electoral problem. Many people at a del Mazo rally in the city of Ecatepec said they were drawn by the promise of handouts.
According to electoral law in Mexico, providing goods in return for a vote in Mexico is illegal. Still, Lopez Obrador accuses the PRI of doing just that.
The party's choice of del Mazo as candidate - he is both Pena Nieto's cousin, as well as the son and grandson of former PRI governors of the state - has loaded its campaign with political baggage and undercut the message of renewal.
Now 63, Lopez Obrador has likened del Mazo's candidacy to a "monarchy".
With Pena Nieto's popularity at record lows and violence still rampant in many parts of Mexico, the president could contribute to the unseating of the PRI in its traditional stamping ground.
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