Leftist candidate sweeps to victory in Mexico, marking major shift

03 July, 2018, 12:45 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • A woman holding a baby casts her ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in San Bartolome Quialana in Oaxaca state Mexico

Lopez Obrador, a 64-year-old former mayor of Mexico City, won a landslide election victory on Sunday, dealing a crushing blow to establishment parties and becoming the first leftist to win the Mexican presidency since one-party rule ended in 2000. Stocks also slipped, along with the country's dollar-denominated notes.

Lopez Obrador worries many who fear he could set the country back decades and lead to disaster with an interventionist economic policy. The peso's drop in the second quarter was the biggest since 2014.

Johns Hopkins professor Christopher Sands says Lopez Obradoris is an anti-estalishment populist like Trump, but retains strong progressive values. Among his proposals are a halt to a $13 billion airport project, the rollback of a historic opening of the energy industry and an expansive fiscal program.

Lopez Obrador had dominated the polls in the run up to Sunday's vote, at times holding a 20-point lead over his rivals.

Lopez Obrador launched his campaign in Ciudad Juarez in tribute to its namesake Benito Juarez, a 19th century Mexican president whose exiled government resisted a French colonialist intervention from the unruly city that borders El Paso, Texas.

The PRI, which dominated Mexican politics for almost the entire 20th century and recaptured the presidency in 2012, was set to suffer heavy losses not just for the presidency but in other races as well. Lopez Obrador told voters that he is the person for the job.

Commonly known by his initials, "AMLO", Lopez Obrador has proposed measures like a huge increase in infrastructure spending, but it's not clear how he can do that if he fulfills a promise not to raise taxes.

Trump said a change in Mexico's leadership might make a difference.

Merkel hails compromise on migration with Bavarian allies
CSU hardliner Alexander Dobrindt said the problems were "solvable" and reminded lawmakers of the value of their alliance . Merkel, who has been in office since 2005, warned last week the battle over migration could decide the EU's future.

Lopez Obrador told the Televisa network Monday that he will respect the current team of negotiators, and let them continue representing Mexico until he takes office December 1, noting that he wants to have information on what's being discussed and "to help as much as we can".

Lopez Obrador won thanks to overwhelming anger at the status quo and his success at presenting himself as an agent of change. "What are the signals that he sends out to markets, to his political opponents, to Mexican society generally, of what he'll actually do when he comes into office?"

Canada's Justin Trudeau echoed the congratulations while emphasising his country's work with Mexico to renegotiate the NAFTA trade pact - an effort that has stalled over attempts to satisfy Mr Trump's demands.

Most voting locations in Mexico closed at 6 pm, local time.

"We are going to defend the migrants from Mexico, from Central America, from the whole American continent and all the migrants of the world that out of necessity have to abandon their villages to go seek a better life in the United States; it is a human right that we are going to defend for Mexicans and for all migrants", he said in a video posted to his campaign website. "We needed a real change", said one elated supporter, Jose Gutierrez, 44. This may mean that any future negotiations are unlikely to shift the focus.

He said Mexico's "very strong" immigration laws could be used to help keep illegal immigrants away from the US border.

"The tone was respectful and our teams will be holding talks".

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