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29/01/2006 | Mexican conservative eyes young vote in radio show

Reuters Staff

Mexican conservative presidential candidate Felipe Calderon made a play for young voters on Saturday, praising rock star Bono, commending teenage soccer champions and comparing himself to a film superhero.

 

Calderon, trailing leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in opinion polls, launched a radio program with a clear eye on the millions of undecided young voters in Mexico, where about half the population is under 40. The voting age in Mexico is 18.

"I am inviting you and all the young people who are listening to become a new generation of Mexicans taking control of public life," Calderon, a former energy minister, said on his hourlong show.

At 43, Calderon is the youngest of the three main candidates for the July presidential election, but surveys show he is the least well-known.

He accused Lopez Obrador and Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, of wanting to take Mexico back to its corrupt past when bureaucrats tightly controlled the economy and political dissent was muffled.

Calderon said Irish rocker Bono's activism in the fight against world poverty and hunger was an example to youth.

"Bono has provided a leadership which the world needed to make people reflect about those issues which a lot of people don't care about. I do care about them," the candidate said.

The show, on the new Radio Futuro channel, appeared to be a reply to a television breakfast program launched earlier this month by Lopez Obrador and paid for by his campaign.

The leftist brushed off Calderon's new program. "I can't be bothered," Lopez Obrador said on Friday when asked if he was going to listen to the radio show.

Calderon spent much of his program sharing anecdotes from his childhood in the provincial city Morelia, where he grew up. Soft acoustic guitar music played as he spoke.

He boasted that as a youth he used to risk the wrath of supporters of the PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years, to hand out promotional leaflets for his party, which Mexican President Vicente Fox brought to power in a historic election in 2000.

Calderon also made frequent reference to Mexico's under-17 soccer team that unexpectedly won the world championship in October.

© Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.

Reuters (Estados Unidos)

 


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