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  • Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) greets supporters during his campaign rally in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico, April 13, 2018

    Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) greets supporters during his campaign rally in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico, April 13, 2018 | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 April 2018

In Sunday's first of three Mexican presidential debate, Jose Antonio Meade, in third place in a just-released poll, will answer the last question for the ailing PRI.

By lottery system, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) announced the order of the five presidential candidates indicating who will speak first, where each will stand and who gets to arrive first at the venue.

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The lottery - which took place in front of the press at the INE - allows independent Jaime Rodriguez to answer the first moderator-provided question. The lottery also decided who will arrive first and last from the debate site at the Mining Palace in Mexico City’s historic center this Sunday, April 22. Ruling party candidate, Jose Antonio Meade will answer last for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Independent candidate Margarita Zavala Gomez del Campo will occupy the first spot on stage and Meade will take the second. In center stage is Ricardo Anaya from the center-right coalition - For Mexico in Front.

Next in line is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) from the Morena party, who seems the most likely to win the July 1 elections as a just-released poll from La Reforma newspaper shows that 48 percent of voters support this most socialist of the official candidates. Rounding out the stage placement is Jaime Rodriguez.

According to the same poll, 39-year-old Anaya is in a far away second with 26 percent of support and Meade, trying to cast himself as the new face of PRI, a party mired in a slew of national corruption scandals holds onto third place with 18 percent. Fifty-nine percent of the 1,200 eligible voters interviewed in the Reforma poll say they want PRI out of office. The public's approval of President Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) has slumped at times to 12 percent during his presidency (2012-present) according to a previous Reforma survey.

The independent candidates are averaging 4 percent.

The moderators are journalist Denise Mearker, Azucena Uresti and Sergio Sarmiento. Candidates and viewers will have to wait until the debate to know who will ask which candidate the questions, and the order. Candidates will also have the opportunity to debate among themselves. This is the first of three national debates for the five official presidential runners.

Candidates are expected to show up to a dress rehearsal the day before, each at different one-hour time slots.


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