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Apr 26, 2018
Mexican presidential candidates hold lively first debate, poised for next one June 12
presidential candidates finish first debate, poised for the next ones May 20 and June 12
Diana Washington Valdez
Digie Zone Network
for Mexico’s presidency exchanged insults and accused rivals of wrongdoing
during their first debate April 22 in Mexico City that was televised and carried
by social media.
The five presidential
Anaya, 39, the candidate who represents an alliance called For Mexico to the
Front, law school lecturer, a former state and federal legislator and officer
of the conservative National Action Party (PAN).
Andres M. Lopez Obrador
Manuel Lopez Obrador, 64, also known as “AMLO,” represents the National
Regeneration Movement (MORENA) political party and is a candidate for the
Together We’ll Make History coalition, a former governor candidate and former
Mexico City mayor. He ran unsuccessfully for president two prior times.
Jose Antonio Meade
Antonio Meade, 49, candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a
lawyer and economist who held cabinet positions in the Felipe Calderon and
Enrique Pena Nieto administrations.
Jaime "Bronco" Rodriguez
“Bronco” Rodriguez Calderon, 60, independent candidate, on leave as governor of
Nuevo Leon, first governor to be elected as an independent, worked on
ex-Governor Alfonso Martinez’s staff.
Zavala, 50, independent candidate, a lawyer, former representative of the
Mexican federal Chamber of Deputies (like the U.S. House of Representatives)
and former First Lady as wife of ex-President Felipe Calderon. She unsuccessfully
sought the nomination of the National Action Party (PAN), which went to Anaya.
April 22 debate issues included public corruption, insecurity, democracy and vulnerable population
as Rodriguez is known, and who perhaps wanted to a make a splash on the national political scene, made the
most controversial statement when he proposed “chopping the hands” of those who
steal from the public.
to chop the hand of those who steal. It’s that simple,” Rodriguez said.
apparently did not wait long to give “Bronco’s” idea credit. One or more suspects
left three written messages, one alluded to “Bronco’s” suggestion, next to the
mutilated body of an alleged extortionist. According to Aristegui Noticias, authorities said the victim’s head, hands
and feet were found April 23 on the side of the Mexico City-Acapulco highway. Mutilated man
for the April 22debate were journalists Denise Maerker, with Televisa; Sergio
Sarmiento, with TV Azteca, and Azucena Uresti, with Milenio.
expected, Lopez was grilled about his campaign to grant amnesty to lawbreakers
as a step toward reducing the violence in Mexico. During the debate, several of
his rivals accused him of being vague on the details as to who might benefit
from a presidential amnesty.
candidate explained that amnesty was not the same thing as impunity, and that
he wanted to create a multi-faceted task force to come up with recommendations to
address the crime and violence that plague Mexico.
to attend the causes that originated the problem of insecurity and violence,”
Lopez said. “Above all, we need to combat poverty.”
complained that the other candidates had ganged up to attack him. Nonetheless,
he was the front-runner in Reforma newspaper’s poll the week before the debate,
with a near 50 percent favorability rating. During the debate, Lopez displayed
a chart of those poll results.
boasting. Something terrible would have to happen (to lose). We’re going to win
this election,” Lopez said.
Lopez is often described a left-leaning politician, some pundits peg him as a
populist in his third and most recent bid for the presidency.
placed second in the same pre-debate Reforma poll, with 26 percent, Meade came
in third with 18 percent, Zavala 5 had percent and Rodriguez 3 percent.
The poll of
1,200 voters was taken April 12-15 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7
presidential election is July 1. Presidents serve six-terms and may not be
reelected. There is no early voting in Mexico currently. The citizens of Mexico
will also be electing 3,000 other elected officials across the country.
question is, what kind of change do we want,” said Anaya, who stressed that he
is the only candidate who can beat Lopez.
said he favors an independent federal prosecutor to tackle major cases of
corruption and violent criminal organizations.
said it is not enough to go after the heads of criminal organizations, and that
it is as important to dismantle the organizations.
should not above the law, said Anaya, adding that he will offer a legislative
proposal “so that the president can be tried while he is in office.” He said
that public servants who break the law should not be allowed to hold any other
public post in the future.
also held up a photograph of Meade cutting a cake with ex-Chihuahua Gov. Cesar
Duarte, who is wanted by Chihuahua authorities on alleged public corruption charges.
Duarte, reportedly, is in the United States.
was the slice you got?” Anaya said to Meade, who like Duarte belongs to the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Meade did not have time to respond.
not just another election,” Anaya said. The future of an entire generation is
Anaya criticized Meade and the political party he represented, which he blames
for widespread corruption. During other moments, Lopez came under fire for the controversial
supporters he’s added to his campaign and was peppered with questions about his
income sources and properties.
said he would like to see a uniform legal code instituted to deal with crime.
of two million crimes each year, only three out of 100 are solved,” said Meade,
who vowed to end impunity.
biggest problem is (economic) inequality, and we’re going to beat it,” Meade said.
also said there should be greater transparency whenever the military is used in
a crime-fighting role, to include why and how the military will be used.
the former First Lady, said "We have to fight the evil with the good ...
because we won't have a Mexico at peace if we don’t have a Mexico that feels
also said she would champion the rights and safety of women, protect the
country against crime and corruption and against U.S. President Donald Trump.
to set as priorities the fight against femicides, sex-trafficking and the
disappearances of young people,” Zavala said.
suggested that “thieves should have their hands chopped off,” Uresti, one of
the moderators, asked him if he was serious, and he responded in the
another dramatic gesture, Rodriguez held up a bullet during the debate that
allegedly had been used in a failed attack against him. He did not provide
details about the attack.
flashed his telephone number on Whatsapp, and said that instead of making
campaign promises, he wants to hear from the public on what kind of changes they
want to see in Mexico
Anaya wins post-debate survey
to a Grupo Reforma post-debate survey, Anaya gave the best performance and handily
won the April 22 showdown. The survey of 903 opinion leaders gave Anaya a 68
percent favorability rating. Lopez, who is the front-runner in the polls, with
48 percent of support, garnered only 16 percent of the post-debate survey
percent of the respondents thought Meade won the debate. “Bronco,” the governor
of Nuevo Leon on leave from his post during the campaign, scored 4 percent. Zavala,
wife of ex-President Felipe Calderon, who projected better in the debate than
she had in other past public appearances, scored 3 percent.
second of three debates scheduled for the candidates will take place May 20 in
the border city of Tijuana, Bajo California, and will focus on immigration,
border security and foreign relations.
Washington Valdez is an award-winning journalist and author who has reported on
Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexico relations and other international issues. She has
been interviewed by major news outlets around the world. She is based in El
Paso, Texas, and is president of the Digie Zone Network, a group of digital
news services in English and Spanish. www.facebook/thedigiezone