His leftist party also won the majority in Mexico’s congress.
Third time is a charm for former Mexico City mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The two-time presidential runner up came out on top of Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday in a landslide victory.
He’s the first leftist to win the election in decades in Mexico. Some of his supporters have referred him as the “messiah” as they look to him to uphold promises the other parties have failed to uphold.
From The New York Times:
The core promises of Mr. López Obrador’s campaign — to end corruption, reduce violence and address Mexico’s endemic poverty — were immensely popular with voters, but they come with questions he and his new government may struggle to answer.
How he will pay for his ambitious slate of social programs without overspending and harming the economy? How will he rid the government of bad actors when some of those same people were a part of his campaign? Can he make a dent in the unyielding violence of the drug war, which left Mexico with more homicides last year than any time in the last two decades?
And how will Mr. López Obrador, a firebrand with a tendency to dismiss his critics in the media and elsewhere, govern?
In the end, the nation’s desire for change outweighed any of the misgivings the candidate inspired.
The Wall Street Journal reported that López Obrador’s party the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena) also won the “majority in both houses of Mexico’s congress, seven key gubernatorial races as well as the Mexico City mayor’s office.”
If the results stand then López Obrador will “be the first Mexican president since 1997 to have a legislative majority, making it easier for him to push through his agenda.”
His humble appearance also won over the voters. From Fox News:
Early in his career, Obrador lived in a dirt-floor shack, built houses for the poor and marched for environmental protections against the giant state-owned, state-run oil company, PEMEX. As Mexico City’s mayor in 2005, he drove an old Nissan Sentra. Today, he claims not to own a credit card or checking account and says he will sell the presidential plane, turn the presidential palace into a park and live in his tiny townhouse in Mexico City.
“I voted for Andres Manuel for president because I like his proposals,” said Mexico City resident Diana Ortiz. “He’s not promoting the a rich government, the powerful guys. Instead he wants to be empower as much to the people here. He wants a more democratic vote.”
López Obrador proposed in his campaign “increased pensions for the elderly, educational grants for Mexico’s youth and additional support for farmers.” He wants to “increase wages and create jobs” and believes those two items “will further curb drug trafficking, violence and illegal immigration – all of which could go a long way toward addressing some of [President Donald] Trump’s chief complaints about the U.S.’ southern neighbor.”
Mexico will pull in funds for these proposals when his administration eliminates “corruption, a figure he places at tens of billions of dollars a year, a windfall some experts doubt will materialize.”
President George W. Bush’s Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez isn’t surprised by the outcome. First of all, López Obrador maintained a lead over his opponents during the campaign. Secondly, the Mexican “people are fed up” and López Obrador drew them in with “allure of change.”
The PRI party ruled Mexico for almost all of the 20th century after its founding in the 1920s. The PAN party took over in 2000 before PRI rose back to power in 2012.
The people want something different. Politico reported:
“AMLO actually cares about Mexicans, and wants to save our lives and make them better,” said Frida Hernández, a waitress from Los Laureles, a small neighborhood about 45 minutes outside of Mexico City. “No one has been more out of touch with his own people than Peña Nieto.”
Hernández said Mexico’s growing murder rate under Peña Nieto was a large part of why she decided to vote for López Obrador. Almost 110,000 Mexicans have been murdered since Peña Nieto took office at the end of 2012.
Many voters were eager for change. Some said their vote this year was not necessarily in support of López Obrador but against the established political parties that don’t represent the average Mexican.
“I support change, and it seems that López Obrador is the only real person open to change on the ballot,” said Mario Ramírez, an Uber driver from Doctores, a Mexico City neighborhood. “But only time will tell if Mexico can truly get better.”
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