U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar has requested a Congressional hearing investigating possible Russian meddling in the upcoming Mexican presidential election.
Cuellar, D-Laredo, said he requested the hearing based on intelligence he’s received. The Mexican general election is set for July 2018.
“It has come to my attention that there are increasing risks of interference from Russian actors in the 2018 Mexican presidential elections,” Cuellar wrote in a letter calling for a meeting of the appropriations committee. “This poses significant risks to one of our closest allies as well as to us. Mexico has a strong democracy. We must be sure that we are doing all we can to support our ally, who is one of our largest trading partners and helps secure our southern border.”
Two-time presidential runner-up and former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has led early polls. Despite running a moderate government as mayor of Mexico’s capital, rivals describe Obrador, 64, as a dangerous radical, similar to the type of socialist governing that has ripped apart Venezuela.
Obrador’s top opponent will likely be Jose Antonio Meade, the former Mexican finance minister who resigned from his post last week to run for president. Meade, 48, also served as foreign minister under current President Enrique Peña Nieto. Under previous President Felipe Calderon, Meade was energy minister.
Peña Nieto is not eligible by law to run for re-election.