Centrist candidate Ricardo Anaya hopes to gain some steam ahead Mexico vote

World Today

Presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, of the left-right Forward for Mexico Coalition, holds his closing campaign rally in Leon, Mexico, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Mexico’s four presidential candidates are closing their campaigns before the country’s July 1 elections. (AP Photo/Anthony Vazquez)

Mexico chooses a new president Sunday amid national turmoil. Dozens of political candidates have been murdered since September, and a corruption scandal has damaged confidence in the ruling party. That could prompt voters to elect the most left-wing candidate in the country’s history.

But an underdog is gathering the support of a centrist coalition. CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock has details.

With Mexico’s presidential election campaign nearing its end phase, one candidate is mounting pressure upon the frontrunner. His name is Ricardo Anaya, a thirty-nine year-old career politician from Mexico City.

“We will not accept that there are eleven million Mexicans living in extreme poverty, fighting just to feed their children,” he told supporters at a recent campaign rally.

Anaya has based his campaign around forward-thinking policy and combative politics, uniting his center-right PAN party with the center-left PRD to create a unique coalition to challenge left-wing firebrand Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“In uniting the two ideologically-opposed parties, Anaya has shown that he is capable of compromise, but his campaign success has been due to his public performances,” said political analyst Leon Perez. “He’s very well-prepared, with real clarity of thought, and is a very good speaker.”

Anaya first stood for public office at age twenty-one, and has been at the forefront of Mexican politics for over a decade, serving as a junior minister in President Calderon’s administration, and leading his party in opposition. But for all his experience, many voters are wary of his rapid ascent.

“In achieving his ambitions, a lot of bodies have been left in the road,” said political journalist Alvaro Delgado. “This is certainly the case with Ricardo Anaya. I have followed his career with interest since he was a very young man, and I can say that he is a very tricky and unscrupulous politician.”

Despite his critics, Anaya’s rhetoric has made him Lopez Obrador’s primary contender according to the polls, although some observers say the political alliances he has leveraged to his advantage in the campaign could serve to undo an Anaya government.

“His biggest challenge would be keeping his coalition together,” said Perez. “These parties have joined forces to give themselves the best chance at power, but ideologically they are very different, and an Anaya administration could be destroyed by infighting before it even starts.”

Despite Anaya’s strong campaign performance, frontrunner Lopez Obrador, better known as AMLO, is currently polling at more than fifty percent of the vote, and an upset on election day looks improbable.

Ricardo Anaya’s appeal to voters may not be enough to change the outcome of July’s election, but his pragmatic, forward-thinking campaign is leaving its mark – raising expectations for whichever candidate wins – and sets out to form an administration.