The leader of Mexico's leftist party Morena, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, vowed Sunday that the progressive party will not align with other traditional political parties for the 2018 presidential election.
"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."
"It has become clear that we are not equal," he continued. "They are held by an interest in power and illicit money."
He said he was referring to Mexico's biggest political parties, President Enrique Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI, the National Action Party or PAN, and the Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD.
"We call on all Mexicans to join the great task of national transformation."
The leader also said he would not align his party with the smaller Green, Citizens Movement, New Alliance and Social Gathering parties, which have aligned themselves with other parties for the recent elections in the state of Mexico, which saw Morena's candidate Delfina Gomez come close to unseating the PRI in a vote critics say was mired by fraud.
Lopez Obrador asked party members to support an alliance with Mexico's small Labor Party. The recommendation was approved by 366 votes in favor and 141 against.
"Being on the left represents two things: a sincere love for the people and being honest because the corrupt are not left wing," Lopez Obrador said.
Morena, the acronym for the National Regeneration Movement, has been gaining ground since Lopez Obrador launched his campaign in November for in his third run for president.
He ran with the PRD in 2006 against Felipe Calderon and again in 2012 against Peña Nieto, both of the PRI. Both elections were mired in controversy and hotly contested.
Known as AMLO for his initials, the politician later withdrew from the PRD and formed his own political party, Morena. Recent polls have shown he is the favored candidate in the 2018 presidential race.
Lopez Obrador seeks to end nine decades of almost uninterrupted rule by the PRI which is currently led by Peña Nieto.