- Andrés Manuel López Obrador won Mexico’s presidency in a landslide victory on Sunday night.
- The 64-year-old populist inherits a country plagued with official corruption and violence whose population is increasingly disillusioned with the political status quo.
- He campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and poverty and has vowed not to live in Mexico’s ornate presidential palace and to sell the official jet.
- López Obrador, also known as AMLO, has also described Donald Trump as “erratic and arrogant” but vowed to get along with the US president.
- Scroll down to learn more about Mexico’s new president.
This is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as “AMLO.” The 64-year-old emerged as the country’s president on Sunday night with about 53% of the vote.
He grew up in a middle-class family in Tabasco state, the son of a petroleum merchant during Mexico’s oil boom. His friends at the time thought he too would become a businessman, but he chose to become a political activist and a human-rights lawyer fighting against big oil companies in his 20s instead.
On December 1, he will take over from Enrique Peña Nieto, who leaves the presidency with a mere 17% approval rating and who clashed with US President Donald Trump over trade and Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall.
Mexico’s presidents are limited to one six-year term, called a sexenio, so Peña Nieto did not run against López Obrador this year.
López Obrador inherits a country plagued with organised crime, deadly violence, drug wars, and widespread corruption among law enforcement.
- Deadly violence in Mexico is intensifying, and May set an all-time record
- A former Mexican governor has been accused of involvement in forced disappearances, and it points to a sinister problem with Mexico’s police
Peña Nieto’s struggle to handle the disappearance of 43 students in 2014 stoked massive protests against Mexico’s violence and official corruption.
López Obrador’s campaign of ending corruption, reducing violence, and addressing poverty, therefore, was immensely popular among voters. The president-elect has vowed to overthrow the “Mafia of power” he says has looted the country.
Source: Sky News
He even vowed to slash his own salary, raise those of lowly paid government workers, and double pensions for the elderly. He also said he would sell the presidential plane — which is valued at about $US430 million.
He has also pledged to live in his own house and turn Mexico’s presidential palace into an art center.
His critics say, however, that López Obrador’s leftist policies could damage Mexico’s economy and turn it into “another Venezuela,” which is undergoing a massive inflation crisis.
He said he would crack down on violence in the country by having daily meetings with his security cabinet. More than 130 political candidates and party workers were killed during this presidential campaign alone.
López Obrador’s successes “are not endorsements of ideologies, but rather demands for change” from a country that has grown disillusioned with the status quo, said Laura Chinchilla, the ex-president of Costa Rica.
Similarly, Shannon O’Neil, a senior fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: “He’s been able to capture the mantle of the person who’s on the outside who wants change.”
López Obrador previously described Donald Trump as “erratic and arrogant,” saying the US president’s plans to build a wall “goes against humanity, it goes against intelligence and against history.”
Last year, he even wrote a book titled “Oye, Trump” — or “Listen Up, Trump” — in which he railed against what he called “hispanophobia” in the US.
He also said he would propose to keep NAFTA, which Trump has said he is “not happy with.” But López Obrador “doesn’t want to be the president who kowtows to President Trump,” said Duncan Wood, the director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico institute.
Wood told CNN:
“He doesn’t want to be the president who kowtows to President Trump. He doesn’t want to be the president who sells out national pride. He wants to be a president who stands up to the United States.
“He wants to be a president who says, ‘We deserve and we demand respect.'”
López Obrador has also said, however, that he would seek a relationship of “friendship and respect” with the US. Trump also appeared to extend a hand of friendship already, with a congratulatory tweet saying: “There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!”
Congratulations to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on becoming the next President of Mexico. I look very much forward to working with him. There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2018
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party and López Obrador’s friend, also tweeted on Monday: “Today brings a new beginning for México.”
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Source: Jeremy Corbyn
This was his third time running for president, having lost the past two elections, in 2006 and 2012. After losing the 2006 election, he called the results a fraud and called himself “the legitimate president of Mexico” and his supporters staged sit-ins and blockades around the country.
In 2012, López Obrador claimed electoral fraud after losing to Peña Nieto — López Obrador received 31.6% of the vote, while Peña Nieto got 38.2%. Mexico’s electoral tribunal recounted the votes but confirmed the original result.
Source: The Economist
“I confess that I have a legitimate ambition: I want to go down in history as a good president of Mexico,” López Obrador said. “I desire with all my soul to raise the greatness of our country on high.”
Source: Associated Press
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