Mexico’s presidential election, at a glance
MEXICO CITY (AP) — On Sunday, Mexicans will elect a new president and numerous other officeholders. With popular discontent high due to high murder rates and rampant corruption, all four candidates are trying to convince voters that they represent change from the status quo.
Mexico’s next leader will serve a six-year term ending in late 2024 and will be constitutionally barred from seeking re-election at the end of his six-year term.
The front-runner in most polls is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist National Regeneration Movement, followed by conservative Ricardo Anaya, of the National Action Party, or PAN, in a right-left coalition, and Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Independent candidate Jaime Rodriguez has been polling a distant fourth, in single digits.
Candidates win with a plurality of the votes and there is no runoff.
Only two parties have occupied the presidency in modern Mexican history: The PRI, from 1929 to 2000 and again since 2012 under current President Enrique Pena Nieto; and the PAN, from 2000 to 2012.
The next president will take office on Dec. 1, five months after the election.
Mexicans will also be voting for an all-new Congress — 128 seats in the Senate and 500 in the Chamber of Deputies — as well as state legislatures, eight governorships, the head of government for Mexico City and nearly 1,600 mayors across the nation. In all, there are some 17,670 names on ballots at the federal, state and local level.
Polls open at 8 a.m. and remain open until 6 p.m. in each of Mexico’s three summer time zones, with the last to close coming in the northwestern state of Baja California.
Nearly 90 million Mexicans are registered to vote, something that comes automatically when citizens receive their government ID cards at age 18.
In the last presidential election, in 2012, a little over 50 million people cast ballots for a turnout of about 63 percent.
Mexico is home to some 120 million people, the third most populous nation in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and Brazil, and it covers more than 750,000 square miles (1.9 million square kilometers) of terrain, about one-fifth the size of the United States.
Mexico had a gross domestic product of about $1.2 trillion last year, making it the world’s 15th largest economy, according to International Monetary Fund figures. Leading industries include petroleum, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, and remittances from migrants living abroad also pump billions of dollars into the economy each year.
The United States is by far Mexico’s biggest trade partner, with the two doing more than $600 billion in two-way trade each year.
About half the country’s people live below the poverty line.