MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s legal campaign season wrapped up Wednesday as the candidates made final appeals to voters ahead of Sunday’s elections, with leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the clear favorite to win the presidency.
Lopez Obrador rallied in Chiapas before returning to Mexico City’s Azteca stadium for his final campaign event. Ricardo Anaya planned a rally in the conservative state of Guanajuato, while ruling party candidate Jose Antonio Meade scheduled events in the northern states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.
A final round of polling gave Lopez Obrador a commanding lead in his third try for the presidency. A survey for the newspaper Reforma gave him 51 percent support, leading Anaya at 27 percent and Meade at 19 percent. The poll surveyed 1,200 registered voters and had a margin of error of four percentage points.
Themes of corruption and runaway violence in parts of Mexico have dominated the campaign.
It has been dangerous for candidates as well. Risk analysis consultant Etellekt tallied 48 killings of candidates for local offices.
Three days of campaign silence follow Wednesday’s blowout events, the largest of which was expected to be Lopez Obrador’s in the capital’s huge stadium. Originally from the Gulf coast state of Tabasco, Lopez Obrador was Mexico City’s mayor in 2000-2005.
He campaigned as the candidate for change, casting himself as the only real chance of ridding the government of corruption and finding peace amid spiraling violence.
“We don’t know what destiny holds for us, but I hope that this is the last campaign of my life. We are going to win,” the 64-year-old said in a video released via Twitter. “I won’t fail you. Together we will make history.”
Anaya sought to rally women to his cause in his closing message. Meade, weighed down throughout the campaign by the corrupt image of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, asked voters to trust him.
Some 87 million Mexicans in the country and abroad are registered to vote. In addition to picking the president, voters will be choosing hundreds of federal and state legislators, mayors and eight governors.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s successor will take office Dec. 1.