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Mexico holds its first presidential debate for July election

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MEXICO CITY — According to the Washington Post, the first of Mexico’s presidential debates opened Sunday night with rivals concentrating their fire on front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who defended the idea of an amnesty to fight drug violence and revived his famous campaign slogan from 2006, “For the good of all, the poor come first.”

The leftist candidate defended his proposals to “speak with everybody” to solve Mexico’s crime problem. He said he would even invite the pope to discuss how to carry out such a dialogue.

The other candidates harshly criticized the amnesty proposal. Third-place candidate Jose Antonio Meade said the proposal put Lopez Obrador “on the side of the criminals.”

But all of the candidates conceded that Mexico’s anti-crime and law enforcement policies have been a failure.

Even Meade, who is running for the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, and who served in several Cabinet posts in the current administration, acknowledged the weakness of police. “Above all, we don’t investigate,” he said.

Several candidates proposed creating an FBI-style federal investigation agency to make up for the fact that drug cartels operate freely in many parts of Mexico.

Since his failed presidential bids in 2006 and 2012, Lopez Obrador has sought to move to the middle and hadn’t much mentioned the “poor come first” slogan of the 2006 campaign until Sunday. He later hedged it a bit, saying that if he is elected, his government “would represent the rich and the poor.”

Click here for full article by Mark Stevenson | AP for the Washington Post. 

Source: Washington Post

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