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Mexico Has Its Final List Of Presidential Candidates

Mexico is getting ready for elections in July. On Friday, the country’s National Electoral Institute gave the green light to four presidential candidates, making the campaign season official.

For the first time in Mexico, an independent candidate — former First Lady Margarita Zavala — will run for office.

It's also the first time that the main left-winged and right-winged parties (the PRD and the PAN) support one presidential candidate under a coalition ("Por México al Frente"): Ricardo Anaya.

Former finance secretary José Antonio Meade runs under the coalition "Todos por México" led by the ruling party, the PRI. 

And Andrés Manuel López Obrador is trying to become president for a third time, now under a center-left alliance called "Juntos Haremos Historia", led by his party, Morena.

But for the United States, the elections rise some red flags, particularly as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is not over. 

Erik Lee is executive director of the North American Research Partnership, a think-tank in Arizona. He said the elections might impact NAFTA, particularly if a left-leaning candidate wins.

“Right now, it looks quite clear that the United States and Mexico — and Canada — will not wrap discussions before the elections,” Lee said.

Lee sid that López Obrador has traditionally not seen free trade agreements favorably, but the right-wing rhetoric from Washington might be indirectly fueling his campaign. 

“I think a lot of Mexicans are upset with the tone of the bilateral relationship since the election of Donald Trump, and I think that’s a big reason on why López Obrador is doing so well in the polls right now,” the expert said.

Lee said border security, immigration and water management might also play differently after the elections. And there might be also concerns if the winning candidate decides to revise done deals, including the recent reforms in Mexico.

“The energy reform revision can represent a tremendous challenge to the Trump administration and the economic interests that supported it and that have really benefited from it,” said Lee.

Rodrigo Cervantes was KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City from 2016 to 2021.