Baseball-loving nationalist who counts Jeremy Corbyn as a friend will be the new president
A baseball-loving leftwing nationalist who has vowed to crack down on corruption, rein in Mexicos war on drugs and rule for the poor has been elected president of Latin Americas second-largest economy.
Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador, a silver-haired 64-year-old who is best known as Amlo and counts Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn among his friends, was elected with at least 53% of the vote, according to a quick count by Mexicos electoral commission.
Lpez Obradors closest rival, Ricardo Anaya from the National Action party (PAN), received around 22% while Jos Antonio Meade, a career civil servant running for the Institutional Revolutionary party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for most of last century, came in third with around 16%.
Addressing the media after those results were announced, Lpez Obrador vowed to repay the trust put in him by millions of Mexicans. I will govern with rectitude and justice. I will not fail you. I will not disappoint you. I wont betray the people, he said.
Mexicos president-elect vowed to rule for people of all social classes, all sexual orientations and all points of view. We will listen to everyone. We will care for everyone. We will respect everyone, he said. But we will give priority to the most humble and to the forgotten.
Earlier, with exit polls pointing to an Amlo landslide, his rivals began conceding defeat. For the good of Mexico I wish him the very best of luck, said Meade.
Anaya said: As I said to him a few minutes ago on the phone I recognise his triumph, express my congratulations and wish him the best of luck for the good of Mexico … The citizens wanted a change and they opted in their majority for the alternative that he represents.
Donald Trump called Lpez Obrador to offer his congratulations in a conversation which both leaders described in positive terms even though the Mexican president-elect had recently Trumps family separation policy Amlo recently denounced as arrogant, racist and inhuman
There was respectful treatment and our representatives will speak more, Amlo tweeted. Trump was equally tactful, telling reporters: I think hes going to try and help us with the border.
As the scale of Amlos triumph emerged his supporters began flooding Mexico Citys intensely symbolic main plaza, the Zcalo, where he was due to make a victory speech.
Weve been hoping for this moment for more than 12 years, said Oliver Izquierdo, 38, a film director who was among the jubilant crowds. Finally democracy has made itself present in Mexico.
Exit polls also suggested the party Amlo founded in 2014 the Movement for National Regeneration or Morena had won at least five of nine gubernatorial races, with the winners including Mexico Citys first elected female mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum. We won! Well rescue the City of Hope, she wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, Amlo, who has for months towered over his opponents in the polls, flashed a victory sign to reporters as he arrived to vote at a Mexico City polling station.
This is a historic day, he said, calling the vote a plebiscite in which people will choose between more of the same or genuine change.
As an estimated 89 million voters descended on polling stations on Sunday it became clear that Mexicans fed up with political sleaze, soaring violence and poverty – had overwhelmingly voted for change and to reject the only two parties to hold the presidency since the end of one-party rule in 2000.
This country is in a deep hole and hes the only one that can pull us out of it, Manuel Molina, a 34-year-old advertisingworker, said as he voted Amlo in Mexico Citys Tacubaya neighbourhood.
Civil servant Evelyn Correa said she was backing Amlo because she was tired of corrupt and shameless politicians:He wont resolve everything like he promises … But weve tried the [other parties] . Hopefully hes different.
Delfina Gmez, a close Amlo ally who is running for a seat in Mexicos senate, told the Guardian she believed corruption-weary voters were backing Amlo and Morena because they wanted a radical transformation in the way politics is done, and in politicians themselves.
Gmez called Amlo a thrifty, upstanding man who would lead a government of austerity and honesty: He finds it shameful that someone might be flaunting their wealth whilst others are dying of hunger.
Amlo has repeatedly pledged to make eradicating corruption the main focus of his presidency, once he is sworn in on 1 December this year. We will get rid of … this cancer, that is destroying this country, he vowed at his final campaign rally.
Analysts also expect him to pursue a less aggressive and less militarised approach to Mexicos 11-old war on drugs which has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives and is widely viewed as a calamity. During the campaign, Amlo has argued you cannot fight violence with more violence, you cannot fight fire with fire and proposed an amnesty designed to help low-level outlaws turn away from a life of crime.
Eric Olson, a Mexico and Latin America specialist from Washingtons Woodrow Wilson Centre, said he saw Mexico stepping back from regional affairs under its new leader. Amlo is not an internationalist … we can expect him to play less of an active role in the region on Venezuela, on Nicaragua and other trouble spots.
Olson also expected tense moments with Trump whose family separation policy Amlo recently denounced as arrogant, racist and inhuman. But its impossible for the US to walk away from Mexico or for Mexico to walk away from the US. They are joined at the hip and need to work together even if their presidents dont like each other and dont get along.
Carlos Bravo, a politics expert from Mexico Citys Centre for Economic Research and Teaching, predicted President Amlo would make fighting poverty a flagship policy, just as former Brazilian president Luiz Incio Lula da Silva did after his historic 2002 election with projects such as Bolsa Famliaand Zero Hunger. Under Amlo he foresaw massive investment in social policy which Mexicos new president could use to show he was attacking not just poverty and inequality but also the social roots of crime and violence.
However, Bravo said the motley coalition behind Amlos election triumph was so diverse featuring former communists, ultra-conservatives and everything in-between that trying to guess how he might rule was a fools errand. Quite frankly, right now there is a lot of uncertainty regarding what the Lpez Obrador government will do.
There will be a lot of infighting [between now and his inauguration] … and the result of that infighting will be crucial in deciding how the Lpez Obrador government is going to look and what its priorities are going to be, Bravo added.
Leading members of Latin Americas left voiced hope Amlos election might revive the regions rapidly ebbing pink tide. It will signal the return of progressive winds to Latin America! Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of Brazils embattled Workers party, predicted.
Argentinas former president, Cristina Kirchner, tweeted: Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador represents hope, not just for Mexico but for the entire region.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us