Mexico general election 2018: All you need to know as Mexico heads to the polls | World | News


What is Mexico voting for?

Mexican presidential elections come around every six years.

Since 1929, the country leader has been from one of two parties: The National Action Party (PAN) or the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

This time, however, polls are showing that Mexico could elect their first left-wing president.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (knowns as AMLO), 64, from the left-wing National Regeneration Movement is promising to “revolutionise” Mexican polítics.

If Mr López Obrador wins, it will be the biggest political upset most Mexican citizens will have seen in their lifetime.

The outgoing president is Enrique Peña Nieto from the PRI.

Mexican presidents are restricted to one six-year term, so Mr Peña Nieto cannot run again.

The other candidates running for the job are conservative candidate Ricardo Anaya, governing party candidate José Antonio Meade, and independent Jaime Rodríguez.

Aside from the top job, there are 18,000 posts up for grabs at federal, regional and local levels.

The Mexican congress – both the lower house and the Senate – are to be filled.

Mexico elections: AMLO and a queue of votersReuters / Getty

Mexico elections: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ‘AMLO’, is ahead in the polls

In all 30 states, state congress and mayoral elections are also to be held.

And crucially, residents in eight states and Mexico City will vote for governors.

Why are these elections so important?

After decades under the rule of only two parties, Mexicans are starting to see the tides of change.

Under PAN rule between 2000 and 2012, the so-called “war on drugs” was launched, resulting in the massive spike of drug-related deaths and violence in the country.

Mexico elections: Ballot boxesReuters

Mexico elections: Polls are showing that Mexico could elect their first left-wing president.

Mexico’s powerful and notorious drug cartels have often been blamed for the alarming murder rates in the country, and politicians have not been immune.

Between September 2017 when registrations for candidates of this election were opened and the close of campaigning on June 28, 133 politicians have been killed.

Most of those killed were running for local government in areas where drug cartels hold more power than the law.

Official statistics show that more than 25,000 people were murdered in Mexico last year alone.

One thing the majority of voters have expressed in the opinion polls is a desire to see the next president put an end to the violence.

Mexico elections: AMLO and the pressReuters

Mexico elections: AMLO is from the left-wing National Regeneration Movement

There is also the fact that Mexico has the second largest economy in Latin America, and is a major oil exporter.

Voters will want the new president to kick-start the valuable economy, which has taken knocks due to corruption in recent years.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States is also a key factor in future international relations.

Then, of course, there is US President Donald Trump, who has a long and difficult relationship with the country.

How the incoming Mexican president deals with the migration policy and Mr Trump’s promise to “build the wall” between the two countries will determine the future of US-Mexico relations.

Mexico elections: Outgoing president Peña NietoGetty

Mexico elections: The outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto from the PRI.

In rural Mexico, however, the promises made by politicians to effect change have failed to resonate.

Leaders representing tens of thousands of indigenous communities, vowing to block voting in protest against a system they feel failed by.

This is the latest in a growing movement of Mexico’s indigenous communities who are seeking self-rule, turning their backs on mainstream elections.

The rights of Mexico’s indigenous poor last grabbed headlines just after the NAFTA went into effect in 1994 and the militant group Zapatista National Liberation Army issued a “declaration of war” against the government.

A 12-day battle ensued, claiming at least 140 lives.

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