MEXICO CITY – The chairman of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) announced here that he was stepping down from his position, a move that comes amid the inability of the party’s presidential candidate to gain ground in voter-preference surveys.
Enrique Ochoa Reza made the announcement Wednesday night during a ceremony at the PRI’s national headquarters in Mexico City in which he also said Rene Juarez Cisneros would become the party’s interim chairman.
Ochoa said Juarez would give the PRI a significant boost ahead of the July 1 elections for president and members of the Senate and lower house.
Also present for the announcement was PRI presidential hopeful Jose Antonio Meade, who praised both Ochoa and Juarez.
Ochoa assumed the role of party chairman in June 2016, while Juarez is a former lower-house lawmaker and senator who also served as governor of the southern state of Guerrero from 1999 to 2005.
A poll published Wednesday by the daily Reforma shows the presidential candidate of the left-wing Morena party, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, holding steady in the lead with 48 percent of voter preference.
Ricardo Anaya, who heads up a hodgepodge coalition that includes his center-right National Action Party (PAN) and the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), was second with 30 percent, while Meade remained stuck in third place with just 17 percent.
The PRI, which has formed a coalition with the New Alliance (PANAL) party and the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) ahead of the July 1 balloting, has dominated Mexican politics for nearly a century, having held the presidency for 77 of the past 89 years.