Mexico right-left coalition presents bid to run in 2018 election

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s newest political force formally emerged on Friday when a right-left coalition presented its official request with the electoral institute to compete in next year’s presidential election.

The coalition, known as “For Mexico in Front,” brings together the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Citizens Movement party.

The coalition will compete against the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and leftist frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), in next July’s vote. President Enrique Pena Nieto is constitutionally barred from running again.

With the formalizing of the coalition, the contours of the election are beginning to take shape. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen who “For Mexico in Front” will pick as its candidate.

PAN president Ricardo Anaya is seen as the most likely figure, although Mexico City’s PRD Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera is also seen as a contender. Former Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala broke with the PAN in October in order to run as an independent.

Last week, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade resigned to seek the presidential nomination of the PRI, which has broken with tradition by seeking outside help to clean up its tarnished image and stay in office for another six years.

The PRI faces an uphill battle to reclaim the presidency, and is banking on Meade, who is not a PRI member and has a reputation for honesty, to win over voters tired by years of graft, violence and lackluster growth.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Nick Macfie