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Mexico state vote precursor to presidential poll

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(26 May 2017) A recent political rally in the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec suggested that many people are already thinking ahead to next year's national elections and see the June 4 voting to choose the governor of Mexico's most populous state as a step in that direction.The banner stretched across the stage carried two faces: that of Delfina Gomez, a school teacher-turned-politician seeking the top job in Mexico state for the leftist MORENA party and beside her, that of party president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.The rally, and the campaign in general, have made Gomez feel like an opening act for the two-time presidential candidate Lopez Obrador, a charismatic populist who is an early favorite for next year's presidential contest.But there is much at stake on June 4. Voters will pick governors in three states, Mexico state, Coahuila and Nayarit, currently controlled by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. Mexico state, which the PRI has ruled for 88 years, is the biggest prize with more than 11 million voters. A PRI victory here could stanch the bleeding after the party lost four governorships last year in states where it had never lost.The PRI is desperate to show that President Enrique Pena Nieto's 2012 victory after two consecutive presidencies from the rival National Action Party was not an aberration and that the PRI is ready to restore its control in a country it had ruled uninterrupted for 71 years.Pena Nieto himself used Mexico state's governorship as a stepping stool to the presidency. Even with the president's approval ratings dipping close to single digits, the PRI has chosen as its candidate Alfredo del Mazo, a cousin of Pena Nieto's, eighth degree, according to del Mazo, who held posts in both his state and presidential administrations. Should he win, del Mazo would follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both served as governors in the state.Mexico state is believed to be key on the road to next year's presidential elections.That is because it has long been a principal source of the PRI's "voto duro" or hard vote. They are the voters the party can count on year in and year out, primarily from a lower socio-economic status, less educated and many older than 50. On the other hand, a Morena victory in the state would be an immense advance in his quest for the presidency in 2018 for Lopez Obrador according to analysts. The opposition vote, however, is divided between several candidates, making it difficult to overcome the PRI's deeply-rooted organization.A poll released Wednesday by El Financiero newspaper put del Mazo ahead of Gomez by five points. Juan Zepeda of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, the one Lopez Obrador left to form Morena, was a distant third and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the more conservative National Action Party was fourth. The poll surveyed 1,200 eligible Mexico state voters between May 20-23 and had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.Earlier in the day at a more polished event at sports complex in Jaltenco, a city known for its denim production, del Mazo told a boisterous crowd that he wants to be the women's governor.He rattled off a long list of promises, potable water, jobs, security, pensions for seniors, improved health services, but dwelled on something he called the "pink salary." Del Mazo proposes a monthly payment to women who work at home. Jesus Antonio Cruz Martinez, a 20-year-old student from San Miguel Xaltocan, attended the del Mazo rally because his sister is a big fan. He was curious, but left unconvinced.He too worries about crime. He's been robbed multiple times on public transportation and noted the state leads the country in femicides.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4098362 d92c0e27c93fe04204c035c93bb40f94 Mexico State Election Josefina Vazquez Mota Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Cruz Martinez Enrique Pena Nieto Mexico Central America Latin America and Caribbean Government and politics
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