Mexican presidential frontrunner softens stance on cancelling $13bn airport

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leftwing frontrunner in Mexico’s presidential election, has softened his stance on the future of the capital’s $13bn airport project. Rather than cancelling it outright, as he has repeatedly threatened in the past, he will consult the Mexican people on its future.

Obrador has said if he becomes president-elect, he would hold a meeting with the present incumbent, Enrique Pena Nieto, on 3 July to discuss the airport. After that, he said he would ask the National Electoral Institute (INE), which runs elections, to hold a vote, or he would appoint a citizen committee.

He told reporters after a campaign rally in the city of Texcoco, near to the site of the airport: "It could be the INE or a committee of independent citizens of unobjectionable honesty. We can resolve this, at the latest, in two months. Perhaps in the first two weeks of September. It can’t wait any longer."

Federico Patino, the chief executive officer of Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México, the firm overseeing the project, said a cancellation would cost about $6.6bn.

Obrador has said he would hold similar consultations on ending Pemex’s monopoly of the Mexican oil industry and his performance as president, but has given few details about how they would work.

He said: "We’re constructing a true democracy, not a dictatorship, and it will be like this in all cases. We’re going to listen to the people, and the people will be in charge, always."

Other policies put forward included building of more oil refineries, increased spending for welfare and cutting politicians’ salaries.

Obrador, who is popularly known as Amlo, is a former mayor of Mexico City and the head of the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena. Polls taken last week showed that his support had surged to 42%, double the 21% recorded for Ricardo Anaya, who is running at the head of a right-left coalition.

Whoever wins will take office in December.

Image: Obrador at a campaign rally in 2012 (Creative Commons)

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