Mexico’s AMLO Denies Playing Favorites in Vote Lead-Up

(Bloomberg) -- Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected claims by one of the top contenders in his party’s primary election process that the government is favoring a rival candidate, the latest sign the race to succeed the Mexican president is heating up.

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Lopez Obrador, who is not eligible to run again for election in June, said that the government had been fair and that people would be able to select whichever candidate they favored in early September.

The comment comes a day after former Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard — who recent polls have in second-place — said that the ruling party was increasing the turn-out at events of another candidate, the former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

“The instruction is that neither the government nor its funds be used to favor anyone,” said Lopez Obrador at a press briefing Thursday, before speaking about the top three candidates competing for his party’s nomination. “Marcelo and Adan and Claudia know me perfectly well. They know I don’t have a double standard, or a double discourse.”

Read More: Mexico Candidate Ebrard Says AMLO’s Party Favors Rival

Whoever wins the Morena nomination has a strong chance of winning the 2024 election, given the high popularity of incumbent Lopez Obrador.

The party is currently choosing a “national coordinator” for the campaign, who is also likely to be the nominee for president. This will follow a series of surveys whose details still aren’t clear, with the final decision to be announced on Sept. 6.

The party is expected to announce on Thursday the details of its selection process, which is likely to include a mix of external polling firms and a party-led measurement of voter sentiment to decide which candidate has the best shot of winning.

In a written statement yesterday, party leaders said that they have acted in an “impartial and transparent” manner.

(Updates with additional background from fourth paragraph)

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