Thu, Jun 14, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Presidential rivals debate in Mexico

AP, MEXICO CITY

Mexico’s four presidential candidates on Tuesday night squared off in their third and final debate before the elections on July 1.

The debate in the colonial city of Merida centered on economic growth, poverty, health, education and technology, based on questions culled from social media.

Front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has held a commanding lead of as much as 20 percent in some polls over his main rivals, Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and Ricardo Anaya, who represents a left-right coalition.

Lopez Obrador and Meade sparred over the issue of economic policy, with Meade arguing that the policies of leftist Lopez Obrador would lead to rising poverty and unemployment.

“We’ve seen this movie before,” Meade said.

Lopez Obrador said he would try to save the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is threatened by the possibility that US President Donald Trump might walk away from negotiations.

However, he added that he wanted to strengthen Mexico’s domestic market and turn away from the export-oriented policies of recent administrations.

“Mexico can produce what it consumes,” Lopez Obrador said.

Anaya aimed a salvo at Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, pledging that “there will be a commission to directly investigate the president” for alleged scandals, including a mansion that Pena Nieto’s wife, Angelica Rivera, bought from a government contractor and the unresolved disappearance and assumed slaying of 43 college students in 2014.

Independent candidate Jaime Rodriguez rounds out the field, and as usual, made the most extreme proposals, such as ending most government aid programs.

“We have to make people work,” Rodriguez said. “There are a lot of lazy people in this country who are receiving” government aid.

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