The race for Los Pinos may seem crowded, but polls show candidates have one man to catch up to: Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. Often referred to as AMLO, the former Mexico City mayor is making his third go at the Mexican presidency, this time as the candidate for the party he founded known as the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).
He faces two main challengers. One is Ricardo Anaya, whose conservative National Action Party (PAN) formed a left-right alliance called Forward for Mexico (Frente) along with the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)—the same party AMLO ditched after his 2012 loss—and the Citizen’s Movement (MC) party. The second challenger is José Antonio Meade, who’s held various cabinet posts and is the candidate for the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), although he’s not a party member. The PRI is allied with the New Alliance Party (PANAL) and the Ecologist Green Party (PVEM), the latter of which is not considered to be all that environmentally focused.
If these alliances seem to serve up an odd mix of diverging political views, so do those formed by AMLO’s party. Leftist MORENA allied itself not only with the Labor Party (PT), but also with the Social Encounter Party (PES), which is led by religious conservatives and opposes same-sex marriage.
While AMLO, Anaya, and Meade are the three main candidates to watch, independents could play an outsized role in the election, given that there is no runoff vote in Mexico. That means the next president will be decided on Election Day, even if the winner gets far from half the votes. (In the last two presidential votes, the winner received less than 40 percent of votes.)
AS/COA Online will be monitoring major polls from the beginning of the year until Mexican voters pick their president for the next six years on July 1.