MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s verbal attacks on an energetic opposition rival have raised his profile and fueled concern among some supporters that far from derailing his presidential campaign, he is undermining his own party.
Since Senator Xochitl Galvez announced on June 27 that she was running for the top job, the leftist López Obrador has mentioned her by name more than 50 times during his daily press conference – and the public supports her. growing.
A computer engineer with an Indigenous background with a playful sense of humor and shrewd political instincts, businessman Galvez has led opposition figures to believe he can compete with popular conservative López Obrador and his party’s search for a successor.
The president portrayed Galvez as a corrupt elite candidate, and last week raised his political stakes by publicizing her alleged affairs, prompting her to accuse him. abuse of power.
By law, Mexican presidents can only serve one six-year term. There is MORENA very much in favor to win, polls show.
As of June 30, López Obrador’s approval rating has fallen by nearly 3.5 percentage points to 58.4%, according to polls tracked daily by polling firm Consulta Mitofsky.
Galvez, who described growing up in poverty and selling gel on the street, says she has a more heavenly background than the main presidential contender MORENA, a former mayor of Mexico City. Claudia Sheinbaum and former foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard.
Lopez Obrador has tried to break this story by branding Galvez a millionaire, said Roy Campos, director of Mitofsky.
Not everyone appreciates it.
“The president should be looking out for the public, not who he can mess with,” said Gabriel Slas, 48, a Mexico City resident who urged Lopez Obrador to stop picking on Galvez.
But there are some sticking arguments.
“He (Galvez) is a friend of the PRIAN,” said 61-year-old school teacher Beatriz Vazquez, using a little López Obrador was able to exploit the PAN and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) turned allies as defenders of the big-money elite.
The president has hit back at Galvez, who this month filed a complaint with the electoral authority saying he was violating impartiality rules.
“It’s what the president wants me to do,” she said after releasing her finances. “But it won’t work.”
The authority this week ordered López Obrador to remain neutral and refrain from election comments. He said he would “pause” such comments, but he and his aides continue to refer to her.
Some López Obrador loyalists see in his treatment of Galvez echoes of how he suffered as mayor of the capital at the hands of his enemy, then-president Vicente Fox of the PAN, in a situation known as the “desafuero” in Spanish.
Under Fox’s government, Congress in 2005 exempted López Obrador from prosecution over a minor land dispute. The case was later dropped but sparked massive protests and boosted López Obrador’s popularity ahead of the 2006 presidential election.
He narrowly lost and was defeated again in 2012 before finally winning in 2018 by a landslide.
“The mistake that Fox made with Andrés Manuel, the president is making now with Xochitl,” said a senior Mexican official who declined to be named, noting that the rise of Galvez could boost the opposition’s presence in Congress in 2024.
It also risked Galvez becoming better known than Sheinbaum, who is many analysts’ top contender, the official said.
López Obrador admitted that some allies are asking him to stay quiet rather than “raise” Galvez. But, he said, the public must have known that she had “gone from selling jelly to becoming a millionaire”.
Lorena Villavicencio, a MORENA politician who supports Sheinbaum, said Galvez’s finances should remain private and subject to the proper authorities. She urged her party not to resort to tactics used against López Obrador in the past.
“Negative campaigning is counterproductive,” she said. “And he tends to put whoever’s on the receiving end in the spotlight.”