The official campaign season for the Mexican presidency kicks off on Friday, with four candidates vying for the position.
For the next 90 days, presidential candidates Margarita Zavala, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Ricardo Anaya, and Jose Antonio Meade will do their best to win the hearts and minds of approximately 88 million registered Mexican voters.
Here is what we know so far:
The Mexican elections are scheduled to take place on July 1, 2018.
Voters will elect a new president to serve a six-year term, 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 128 members of the Senate.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: He is the candidate for the coalition Juntos Haremos Historia (Together we will make history), and he is representing the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).
He chose Ciudad Juarez as the site to kick off his third campaign for the presidency. He ran and lost by a close margin Mexico’s last two presidential elections in 2006 and 2012.
If elected, he promised to review oil contracts with other countries and has also expressed doubts over the future of NAFTA.
Margarita Zavala is the only candidate running as an independent.
Zavala is the wife of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a man who ran and won against Lopez Obrador in 2006.
Zavala split with Calderon’s party, PAN, and decided to run on her own. This is the first time an independent candidate will appear on the presidential ballot.
Her campaign began just after midnight on Thursday, March 29 at the Angel de la Independencia in Mexico City.
These have been described as “the biggest election in Mexican history” according to the National Electoral Institute (INE) due to the number of public issues being debated. On the same day. 30 out of 32 states will also hold local elections.
As of 2017, Mexico’s census recorded a population of over 137.7 million people. This year, INE says 88 million Mexicans have registered to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
Most Mexicans resent the bad economic growth and persistence of poverty and inequality. According to the OECD, seven out of every 10 Mexicans live in poverty or vulnerability, while the wealthiest 20 percent of the population earns 10 times as much as the poorest 20 percent.
This, combined with rising levels of violence, means Mexicans are seeking new policy ideas, but it’s unclear what model will the country choose.
Lopez Obrador’s supporters believe that he is the only candidate who can confront Mexico’s problems, but voters loyal to the PRI and PAN see in him a populist who might disrupt Mexico’s current economic model.