- Title: Mexican leftist in tight race to clinch key state from presidentâ€™s party
- Date: 15th May 2017
- Summary: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (MAY 15, 2017) (REUTERS) ACUNA DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) POLITICAL ANALYST, IVONNE ACUNA, SAYING: "Eight out of 10 people from the State of Mexico want a change. So 8 out of 10 people from the State of Mexico need to go out and vote to bring about this change. If not then the same thing as always will happen, the party with the most votes wins and in this case it will be PRI. It is not automatic, but it raises the possibility of victory if there is abstention." AMECAMECA, STATE OF MEXICO, MEXICO (MAY 13, 2017) (REUTERS) VAZQUEZ MOTA SUPPORTERS CHANTING AT RALLY
- Embargoed: 29th May 2017 23:25
- Keywords: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador populist leftist Alfredo del Mazo PRI Morena state elections President Enrique Pena Nieto State of Mexico governor Josefina Vazquez Mota Delfina Gomez
- Location: AMECAMECA, CHIMALHUACAN, TOLUCA, STATE OF MEXICO, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: AMECAMECA, CHIMALHUACAN, TOLUCA, STATE OF MEXICO, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0066GY9W03
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A bitter political rivalry between President Enrique Pena Nieto and populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is playing out in Mexico's most populist state, with the leftist party's candidate for governor in a close race to clinch the key battleground state from the 90-year reign by the ruling PRI party.
With just three weeks to go, the stakes are high in the state of Mexico. It is one of the country's economic powerhouse and with an estimated population of some 16 million people, the race for governor is expected to be a precursor to the 2018 presidential race.
From the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, former presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota is vying to be governor. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon has hit the campaign trail with the PAN candidate with the message that the PRI party cannot be trusted with another term in office. But with Vazquez Mota trailing third in many opinion polls, the race for the governorship is between the leftist MORENA party and the ruling PRI.
The most populous state in the country, is a bastion of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which won by a landslide in the last election in 2011. However, a recent poll by daily Reforma showed Delfina Gomez of Lopez Obrador's party, the National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA, is holding a wafer-thin lead over PRI rival Alfredo del Mazo, a cousin of Pena Nieto.
The loss of the 16-million-strong state of Mexico and its financial resources would be a major blow to the PRI in its bid to stop Lopez Obrador from winning the presidency next year.
The runner-up in the last two presidential contests, Lopez Obrador has led a number of early polls for the 2018 race, profiting from widespread discontent over political corruption, gang violence and anaemic economic growth.
Off the back of a corruption scandal with PRI governors in other states like Veracruz and an unpopular Pena Nieto presidency, the PRI has bet on keeping the opposition divided to limit electoral losses in recent elections. But it faces formidable opposition in the state of Mexico.
PRI candidate Alfredo del Mazo has campaigned on his party's experience to draw in votes, with the PRI having held the state of Mexico for some 90 years.
However, critics of the PRI have hit out at the party's inability to crackdown on violence and corruption in its nine decades of power as reason for change.
But with confidence in Mexico's politicians at a slump, some experts think voter abstentions could see the PRI hold onto the state.
The strategic June 4 state election comes at a tense time for Mexican relations with the United States given President Trump's threat of a border wall and possibly scrapping NAFTA.
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