MEXICO CITY - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday he was trying to get wealthy businessmen to club together and acquire his predecessor's presidential jet, which he has spent more than two years unsuccessfully trying to sell.
"I'm trying to convince businessmen with economic possibilities to form a group ... and to take on the presidential plane, because it's been a tough job selling it," the president told a regular government news conference.
"And it's been tough convincing them too," he added, observing that nobody wanted to "show off" now.
The president brought up the quandary to illustrate that a more austere mindset had taken hold under his leadership after being asked about alleged excess by a politician in his party.
Lopez Obrador has held up the Boeing 787 Dreamliner of his predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto as a symbol of political corruption and extravagance. But he has not managed to find anyone willing to pay the $130 million price tag he put on it.
Instead, he held a symbolic raffle of the plane in September, selling over $100 million worth of tickets.
Meanwhile, relations with business leaders under the frugal leftist president have often been fraught.
Lopez Obrador has both praised Mexico's business elites and depicted them as complicit with the politicians who ran what he calls the corrupt administrations that preceded his own. (Reporting by Dave Graham Editing by Marguerita Choy)