Mexico's presidential hopefuls have kicked off election campaigning, with favored candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – popularly known as AMLO – hosting an event near the U.S. border.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican officials have been at loggerheads since the businessman-turned-politician stated that the Central American country should pay for his campaign-promised border wall.
The Mexican polls are scheduled for July 1 and about 88.3 million people are eligible to vote.
AMLO, who heads the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), will face off with three other candidates – Ricardo Anaya, Jose Antonio Meade and Margarita Zavala – to argue issues of corruption, drug violence and trade.
AMLO is viewed as leftist, populist and nationalist running on an anti-corruption platform with the slogan “peace and love.”
The former Mexico City mayor, according to a Reuters report, caused major concern among the population when he promised to review recent oil contracts and threaten to cancel the construction of a new airport. He openly criticized President Enrique Pena Nieto for “governing with recipes sent from abroad.”
AMLO supports the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but requests a suspension of Trump-demanded renegotiation process until the Mexican polls have been completed. He is less accommodating to Trump than the ruling party have been.
Anaya, the president of conservative National Action Party (PAN), is the youngest candidate in the race. The 39-year-old guided his party to more than 10 governorships – a historic feat.
Anaya's platform includes universal minimum income as well as investigations into government corruption allegations.
“Mexico is going to change. This corrupt government has its days numbered,” the PAN leader said as his started his bid for office, on Friday.
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Meade, is a non-member candidate chosen to lead the charge for the party.
Meade has served in five ministerial jobs, including minister of foreign affairs, social development, energy and finance. The career politician will start his campaigning Sunday.
Former First Lady and PAN member, Zavala, is contesting the election as an independent candidate.
Zavala, who is a one-time congresswoman, began her campaign to become Mexico's first female president, on Friday.
Zavala's platform centers on the withdrawal of state-deployed troops who have been accused of killing tens of thousands of people during a war on drug launched by Zavala's spouse and then-head of state, Felipe Calderon.
According to pollsters, AMLO leads Anaya, Meade and Zavala – in that order – heading into the campaigning period.