Mexico’s President turns to ‘Plane Raffle’ to raise funds for social welfare schemes & healthcare

Guess what’s up for grabs in Mexico? The Presidential Jet. But sadly despite multiple attempts, there are no suitors just yet!

After multiple failed attempts at selling the luxury Dreamliner, Mexico on Tuesday held a lottery like never before. Sixteen impeccably dressed children walked on stage in the National Library Building in a bid to raise funds which the President thought he could have otherwise garnered by selling off the jet.

The raffle tickets, which earlier had a bumper prize – the Presidential Jet, will now create 100 millionaires courtesy cash prizes. For Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the jet for long has been a symbol of the corrupt excesses of the past.

He incidentally boarded the aircraft and put out a video to boost sale of raffle tickets.

The total prize money of the raffle loosely put represents the value of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that President Obrador has promised to sell to raise funds for social programs.

Mexico had earlier thought that proceeds from the sale of the jet would be channelised for social welfare projects including public health sector. As attempts at finding a buyer hit a dead end, Mexico conceived the raffle as an alternative way of generating funds.

The luxury jet was acquired by former President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012 and fitted with marble-lined bathrooms. Reconfigured to fly just 80 people, the plane boasts of a “presidential suite” and a private bath.

The sale has not happened as yet since President Obrador has been unwilling to accept offers below a United Nations-backed valuation of $130 million.

Out of 6 million tickets offered, 100 winners can claim 20 million pesos each, or just a little under $1 million each. By last week, about 70 per cent of the raffle tickets had been sold, but there was a flurry of last-minute interest led to long queues at lottery stores.

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