Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) delivers a message after arriving at the third and final debate in Merida, Mexico, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican leftist front-runner for the presidential elections, has extended his lead further three weeks ahead of the country’s presidential election.

A nationwide survey held between May 30 and June 6 showed 41.7 percent of respondents would vote for Lopez Obrador if elections were held today, followed by 21.0 percent for head of a right-left coalition, Ricardo Anaya, Reuters reported.

Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City and a two-time runner-up in the previous presidential elections, has now doubled his lead over rival José Antonio Meade, candidate of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who came in third with 13.6 percent support. Opinion poll showed that Lopez Obrador’s party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), which has existed formally for four years only, would win its first elections.

President Enrique Peña Nieto's inability to fight corruption, an increase in drug cartel–related violence and a slowing economy could be considered major reasons for Obrador’s growing support base, Newsweek reported.

Lopez Obrador, also known by his initials AMLO, has always supported policies like raising the minimum wage to fight income inequality and ending the drug war in three years' time. He has also publicly criticized the country's corrupt establishment. Many analysts believe that AMLO may revoke some of Peña Nieto's reforms, such as the liberalization of the country's oil and gas industry.

He also spoke of plans to work on a deal with President Donald Trump to tackle the issue of migration to the north.

Lopez Obrador said, "Our dream, which we'll achieve regardless of whether Trump accepts or not, is that Mexicans can work and be happy where they were born,” DW reported.

During a rally, he also challenged the country’s powerful and thieving “mafias,” a call that found widespread support.

“López Obrador is the only option,” Margarita García Rodriguez, a homemaker said, the Guardian reported. “If he can’t help us out, then there’s nobody else that can. The whole system will collapse,” she added.

However, the country's progressive forces are a bit worried about civil rights being sidelined during his potential rule, as he formed a coalition with the Social Encounter Party (PES), known for its anti-gay, anti-abortion stand.

Richard Miles, director of the U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative said, “Lopez Obrador is at heart a populist authoritarian.”

While talking about AMLO, Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s former foreign minister said, “He believes in old-fashioned nationalism. Old-fashioned statism. Old-fashioned protectionism. Old-fashioned subsidies across the board.”

“Is he a guy who is sufficiently pragmatic and intelligent to understand that you can’t do a lot of these things? Yeah. But what would he do if he could?” Castañeda added.

AMLO sought to clear the unpleasant feelings by naming a team of highly educated experts as his cabinet, were he to come to power. He also denied seeking to drag Latin America’s second largest economy back into the past and assured business leaders there would be “no expropriations, no nationalisations” if he wins.

“If this horror we’re living now is what they want to give us in the future, the past is preferable,” he said.