After the elections for state governors in 2016, in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, for its Spanish acronym) fared poorly, opinion polls show that the PRI no longer occupies first place, as it has for many years. The PRI is currently in third place after the National Regeneration Movement Party (MORENA, for its Spanish acronym) and the National Action Party (PAN, for its Spanish acronym), both of which are still fighting for first place. The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD, for its Spanish acronym) is currently in fourth place. These results are debatable and certainly up for discussion. However, they show what some years ago was thought to be impossible is now possible. The biggest surprise is the polling of MORENA at the top spot in several races just as the country prepares for the 2018 presidential election. This will be the third time that the MORENA party leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has run for President, after losing by a slim margin to Felipe Calderón from the PAN in the 2006 election and placing second in the 2012 election against Mexico’s current President, Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mr. López Obrador has continued to campaign, traveling tirelessly throughout the country. He appears to have changed his combative leftist views and now presents himself to be a fair, serious and conciliatory candidate. He has ceased making attacks on conservative and moderate candidates. In fact, in a surprising turn of events, his campaign has incorporated a group of individuals who lobbied for the PRI and occupied high-ranking positions with such party, including Esteban Moctezuma, who served as Director of the Ministry of the Interior in Ernesto Zedillo’s cabinet. Currently, the question is whether the groups in political power will take any action to derail the candidacy of Mr. Lopez Obrador, as was the case when Felipe Calderón won the presidency. This question should be answered fairly quickly, as the 2018 elections approach. Meanwhile, the elections for governor of the State of Mexico will provide some insights into whether the PRI will win the State of Mexico or, at the very least, be competitive during the presidential election cycle. If the PAN or MORENA defeats the PRI, it is unlikely that it will overcome such defeat, and a new political party will be welcomed at Los Pinos.