Upping the ante in his ongoing showdown with Mexico’s business elite, leading presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused billionaires German Larrea and Alberto Bailleres of being part of an alleged plot to prevent him from winning the country’s July 1 presidential election, the Mexican online site SinEmbargo.com has reported.
Lopez Obrador, who holds a double-digit lead in almost all polls, said Tuesday that mining tycoons Larrea and Bailleres, Mexico’s second and third richest people, plus cinema mogul Alejandro Ramírez, who is president of the Mexican Business Council, among other top businessmen, met last month with Ricardo Anaya, the pro-business PAN presidential candidate. He claimed that the purpose of the secret meeting was to discuss support for a “single candidacy” that could defeat López Obrador.
The usually reclusive Mexican Business Council, comprise of Mexico’s ten richest magnates, pushed back in an extraordinary ad in Mexican papers in which it accused López Obrador of “insulting and slandering” them. “It is concerning that someone who aspires to be President of Mexico insults those who do not share his ideas,” the group said on Thursday. “We condemn that a presidential candidate resorts to personal attacks and unfounded accusations.” The Council offered to talk with all political forces, but with “respect.”
At his daily press conference on Tuesday in Mexico City, Anaya denied that such a meeting took place “in the terms that López Obrador described,” a spokesperson for Anaya told me. “It’s false. What happens is that López Obrador is resorting again to his old conspiracy theories,” Anaya said, according to the audio of the press conference provided by the Anaya spokesperson.
Last Friday, Anaya told a meeting of bankers sponsored by Citibanamex, Citigroup’s Mexican unit, that he is open t
A “single candidacy” implies that José Antonio Meade, the PRI presidential candidate who has failed to connect with voters and is running a distant third, would withdraw in favor of Anaya. Meade has rejected outright the idea, pledging to stay in the campaign until the end.
The country’s private sector has been uneasy with many of López Obrador’s economic proposals and confrontational style. Last month, telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú called on López Obrador to reconsider his pledge to cancel a $13 billion airport project for Mexico City in which Slim’s companies are top investors.
A May 2 survey by the newspaper Reforma showed López Obrador with 48 percent support, an 18-point lead over second-place Ricardo Anaya and 31 points ahead of ruling party candidate José Antonio Meade.
o collaborating with the ruling PRI party to beat López Obrador, according to a video that Mexican magazine Proceso says it obtained from the Anaya campaign.