Politics: Rules of the 2018 Candidate Game

MEXICO - Report 15 Feb 2017 by Guillermo Valdes and Esteban Manteca

The basic rules are essentially in place for the presidential succession process in which Mexico will be fully immersed in less than six months, along with the corresponding congressional and local races that will be in play June 3, 2018. Opposition parties appear to have given up on proposals for a second round in the presidential contest.
For the first time it will be possible for people to appear on the ballot as independent candidates. The three best known politicians hoping to run in this category are Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodríguez, Jorge Castañeda, and Pedro Ferriz de Con. But with all three polling in the mid-single digits none has broken out, and it would come as no surprise if Rodríguez were to throw his support behind the Morena party’s undisputed presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The only party nominee about which there has never been any suspense is Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s eventual candidacy on behalf of the Morena party. There remains considerable doubt as to whom the PRI might choose, but it appears likely that the party will revert to its old system of the outgoing president's choosing his successor from among members of his cabinet; Minister of the Interior Osorio Chong appears in a strong position but State of Mexico Governor Eruviel Ávila could also emerge as a “unity” pick. However, Luis Videgaray, José Antonio Meade and former UNAM rector José Narro have also been a source of considerable speculation.
With three likely contenders for the PAN nomination, that opposition party is most likely to opt for a mixed candidate selection system combining opinion polls and primaries, which could provide a degree of equity and limit factional tensions once the candidate is chosen.
Support for the PRD, once a leading contender in presidential contests, has waned greatly, but it could try to tip the scales in favor of either the PAN or Morena by running in an alliance with one of them or, failing that, by throwing its support for either of their nominees late in the race after initially running a nominee of its own, most likely Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera.

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