Stern, solemn, and a flat speaker, the candidate of the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party promotes his party as the true alternative to the look-alike policies of PRI and PAN.
An engineer and son of Lazaro Cardenas del Rio (one of the most popular presidents in Mexico's history), Cuauhtemoc Cardenas Solorzano has taken a confrontational line against the government. He rejects recent electoral reforms as too little, too late, and warns of civil unrest if the vote is fraudulent. Mr. Cardenas considers himself - and many analysts agree - the real winner of the 1988 presidential elections.
Most current polls show Cardenas in third place. His support took a nose dive after the televised May debate, where he fared poorly. Supporters say the 1988 polls showed the same thing and point to large crowds at recent campaign rallies. In 1988, after a decade of economic woes, Mexicans were looking for a change. They are no longer sure that Cardenas offers that change - in part, because the PRI and government have portrayed the PRD as synonymous with violent protests and instability.
Cardenas and the PRD consider themselves the champion of Mexico's downtrodden. In recent years, Cardenas has moderated his left-leaning views, taking a more centrist approach. His economic policies are basically consistent with the pro-NAFTA, job-creation, and pro-foreign-investment policies of the PRI and PAN. He does pledge to renegotiate the agricultural sections of NAFTA. Cardenas puts more emphasis than his opponents on fighting poverty and boosting infrastructure and education spending in the countryside, where the PRD is strongest.