Mexico’s Presidential Campaign Season Heats up as Ricardo Anaya Joins the Foray

By Elliot Bullman

Political machinations are in full swing as campaign season begins to heat up less than seven months away from next year’s presidential election.

Ricardo Anaya’s resignation as party president, effective this weekend, is the first step to seeking the nomination from his National Action Party (PAN) to run in 2018 against the party of actual President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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If selected, Anaya will likely take on leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and former Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade, who is seeking the nomination for the ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

At 38, if he succeeds as expected in becoming the Citizens’ Front for Mexico candidate Anaya will become the youngest presidential aspirant to appear on next year’s ballot.

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He has already served as president of Mexico’s lower house at a time when major economic reforms were passed, including the energy overhaul. As president of the National Action Party since 2015 he’s overseen several joint bids for governmental elections with the left-leaning PRD, many of them successful.

Anaya and his coalition say they represent an alternative to the PRI, which has been involved in a number of corruption scandals, and to the leftist candidate and early front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who’s put investors on edge with past pledges to reverse the government’s move to open Mexico’s oil industry to private drilling.

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July’s election “raises a fundamental question: continuity or change. Do we continue on the same road toward corruption and inefficiency that the PRI represents, or do we propose a change,” Anaya said last Friday at an event to register his coalition with the electoral regulator.

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