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Mexico president buys first $25 ticket for plane raffle

March 3, 2020 GMT
In this photo provided by Mexico's Presidential Press Office, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stands in front of an image of a raffle ticket featuring the presidential plane, in his morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Lopez Obrador announced that the raffle of the Boeing Dreamliner will be symbolic, awarding total prize money of $100 million, which lottery tickets state is "equivalent to the value of the presidential jet." (Mexico's Presidential Press Office via AP)
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In this photo provided by Mexico's Presidential Press Office, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stands in front of an image of a raffle ticket featuring the presidential plane, in his morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Lopez Obrador announced that the raffle of the Boeing Dreamliner will be symbolic, awarding total prize money of $100 million, which lottery tickets state is "equivalent to the value of the presidential jet." (Mexico's Presidential Press Office via AP)
1 of 2
In this photo provided by Mexico's Presidential Press Office, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stands in front of an image of a raffle ticket featuring the presidential plane, in his morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Lopez Obrador announced that the raffle of the Boeing Dreamliner will be symbolic, awarding total prize money of $100 million, which lottery tickets state is "equivalent to the value of the presidential jet." (Mexico's Presidential Press Office via AP)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pushed forward Tuesday with a symbolic raffle of the presidential jetliner, purchasing the first of 6 million $25 dollar tickets that will be offered to the public.

The plane, equipped with a special presidential suite, itself isn’t at stake: Each of the 100 winners will take home about $1 million.

The point for the government is to raise money for the poor, dramatize extravagant purchases by previous administrations and underscore López Obrador’s commitment to austerity — a key pillar of which is shunning the official jetliner his precessors purchased for some $200 million. Instead, he flies coach.

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Tickets will go on sale to the public March 9 and the administration says the nation’s most prominent businessmen already have promised to buy about half of them.

López Obrador said that if his ticket turns out to be a winner, he will give his prize to scholarships.

Part of the proceeds are supposed to go toward costly upkeep of the Boeing 787, which the government had been has been unable to sell, even at a cut-rate price of some $130 million — in part because it would be costly to reconfigure for commercial use.

As for the plane itself, López Obrador said the government would organize visits for the public.