March 22, 2018 / 7:53 PM / in a month

Mexico presidential front-runner seeks to block new contract awards for airport

MEXICO CITY, March 22 (Reuters) - The leftist front-runner for the Mexican presidency said on Thursday his legal team would file injunctions to block the government from awarding more construction contracts for the capital’s new $13 billion airport.

Former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has a strong lead in opinion polls for the July 1 election, previously threatened to scrap the airport, which has been under construction since 2015 and meant to be finished by 2020.

Lopez Obrador said the airport was running behind schedule and over budget and could end up being a money pit for his administration if he wins office.

“We will present a legal challenge to stop contracts being awarded, because they are awarding contracts to tie down the next government. We don’t have the money,” Lopez Obrador told reporters in Mexico City.

Lopez Obrador said previously he was not going to break contracts that had already been awarded. On Wednesday, he said in a television interview that under his government, those who held bonds or contracts for the airport would not be affected.

Mexico’s powerful CCE business lobby urged Lopez Obrador this month to respect airport and oil contracts or risk damaging investment in Latin America’s No. 2 economy.

The city’s airport authority hopes to raise 30 billion pesos ($1.6 billion) on Friday in an initial offering of an infrastructure investment trust to fund construction of the hub. ($1 = 18.5219 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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