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  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is leading in the polls over President Peña Nieto.

    Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is leading in the polls over President Peña Nieto. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 July 2017

Support for Peña Nieto has crumbled amid corruption, resurgent gang violence and tepid economic growth.

Mexico's ruling party is running in third place with less than a year to go before the next presidential election, well behind the new party of leftist hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an opinion poll showed Sunday.

Left Party Morena Rejects 'Traditionalist' Alliance for 2018 Election

Excluding undecided voters, support for President Enrique Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, fell to 17 percent, 11 percentage points behind the top choice, Lopez Obrador's National Regeneration Movement, Morena, with 28 percent, the poll by newspaper Reforma showed.

The second most popular option with 23 percent support was the center-right opposition National Action Party, or PAN, which held the presidency between 2000 and 2012.

Backing for the centrist PRI has gradually crumbled since Pena Nieto took office in December 2012 because of anger over corruption, resurgent gang violence and tepid economic growth.

In the recent elections for the state of Mexico, the PRI only narrowly won with 33.59 percent of the vote, with Morena on 30.73 percent in an election widely criticized for corruption and threats.

Various scenarios for the presidential race showed Lopez Obrador ahead of his rivals, polling between 30 and 33 percent of the vote. Political analysts say that may be enough to win the July 2018 contest with the electorate increasingly divided.

Lopez Obrador's closest rival in the match-ups, trailing by between two and five points, was PAN hopeful Margarita Zavala, the wife of Mexico's previous president Felipe Calderon.

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Lopez Obrador, also known by his initials AMLO, has vowed not to align with any other traditional party for the 2018 elections.

"Those who associate themselves and deal with the mafia of power are nothing more than opportunist mercenaries and politicians," Lopez Obrador said during the party's third congress in Mexico City. "With the exception of Morena, almost all parties are co-opted by the mafia of power. My vision is that we can not march together with these parties."

AMLO is one of the best-known politicians in Mexico, having spent years relentlessly excoriating other parties for corruption in thousands of rallies around the country.

A former mayor of Mexico City, Lopez Obrador finished runner-up in the last two presidential contests before breaking with his longtime base, the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution, PRD, to establish Morena in 2014.

The Reforma poll, which surveyed 1,200 Mexican voters, showed independents were the fourth most-popular option with 10 percent support. The poll had a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

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