Mexican presidential frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador named Carlos Urzúa as his prospective finance minister in an eight woman, eight man cabinet designed to assuage fears he will turn Latin America’s second-biggest economy into Venezuela.

“I think he’s serious. A good economist,” said Carlos Serrano, chief economist at BBVA Bancomer. “A bit heterodox but he won’t be irresponsible fiscally speaking,” he added.

Mr Urzúa, currently a professor at the Tec de Monterrey university in Mexico, was finance minister of Mexico City from 2000-03, when Mr López Obrador was mayor.

Among other selections, however, was Norma Nahle, a fierce critic of Mexico’s energy reform which opened up a sector dominated by the state for eight decades.

Among other key appointments, Mr López Obrador named Olga Sánchez Cordero Dávila, a former Supreme Court justice, as his pick for interior minister. Héctor Vasconcelos, a career diplomat and former ambassador, studied at Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford, was his choice for foreign minister. Gabriela Márquez, an academic with a PhD in economic history from Harvard, will take the economic ministry in charge of the key foreign trade portfolio.

Esteban Moctezuma, a veteran politician and former interior minister whose presence on Mr López Obrador’s team has reassured foreign investors, would be education minister.

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