When Mexican voters go to the polls on 1 July to pick a new president, they will able to choose between candidates including Richie Rich, Alligatorfish, and the Untamed One thanks to a ruling by the country’s electoral institute. Voters will now be allowed to scribble a candidate’s nickname, initials or campaign slogan anywhere on the ballot – rather than mark an X over their names – and have it count as valid. The National Electoral Institute (INE) – which organises the election and referees all partisan political activities in Mexico – changed the rules barely three weeks ahead of the vote that will also renew congress, elect nine governors and hundreds of mayors.
Nicknames abound in Mexican politics: the current front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador is often referred to by his initials: “Amlo”. But he is equally well-known as “El Peje” for pejelegarto, a fish from his native Tabasco state, whose name translates literally as Alligatorfish.
His closest rival – Ricardo Anaya Cortés of the rightwing National Action Party – is sometimes referred to as “RAC” in print, but on social media he is increasingly called Ricky Riquín Canallín – the Spanish equivalent of “Richie Rich”, which was coined by López Obrador in a recent candidates’ debate.