After years of spiraling corruption and violence, Mexican voters made their voices heard Sunday by electing a leftist as president. Andres Manuel López Obrador, known by his initials AMLO, claimed victory telling supporters gathered in Mexico City that the mission of his government will be to remove mass corruption from the country. López Obrador won in a landslide claiming 53 percent of the votes. The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor, who will take office on Dec. 1, is expected to move the country in a more nationalist direction.
Who is the new president of Mexico and what are his policies?
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 2, 2018
López Obrador campaigned on vows to transform Mexico. He rode widespread voter anger and discontent with the governing Institutional Revolution Party, or PRI, of President Enrique Pena Nieto, to victory. Among his promises are that he will live in his own home, turn the official residence into a public space, sell the presidential airplane and even cut his own salary. He also said he would lower the salaries of top officials and give those at the bottom higher raises.
López Obrador is the first leftist to win the Mexican presidency in over 30 years.
Populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected President of Mexico with over half the vote in the country's biggest ever elections. He’s the first leftist to win in over 30 years. pic.twitter.com/rrSFQ7Gh0l
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 2, 2018
López Obrador victory highlights widespread discontent with outgoing Peña Nieto’s PRI party, which has governed Mexico for 77 of the past 89 years. Peña Nieto congratulated López Obrador Sunday, saying, “He and his team will have the support of the Mexican government to make an orderly and efficient transition.”
He hopes to build a stronger relationship with the United States, which means dealing with Donald Trump.
After a stunning victory, left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador will become the next president of Mexico. But his policies mean he could already be on a collision course with President Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/pxFCoWWbrq
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 2, 2018
Despite his long political résumé, many saw the 64-year-old candidate as an outsider. His anti-establishment position has garnered comparisons to President Trump. López Obrador pledged to rely less on the U.S. and he hopes to persuade President Trump to help Mexico and Central America develop to stop illegal immigration to its northern neighbor. President Trump congratulated López Obrador in a tweet on Sunday saying he “looks very much to working with him.”
Many voters hope this is a new era for politics and domestic policy in Mexico.
Get ready for a new era of Mexico-US relations. Voters overwhelmingly chose Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as Mexico's next president, embracing his leftist platforms and his criticism of US President Trump https://t.co/KNDTFWOXkV pic.twitter.com/zeZYM0GHQb
— CNN (@CNN) July 2, 2018
“I confess that I have a legitimate ambition: I want to go down in history as a good president of Mexico,” said López Obrador during his celebratory rally. “I desire with all my soul to raise the greatness of our country on high.”
Many in Mexico believe the new president will lead the country to success domestically and abroad. “It’s the first time the country feels happy,” Emilia Gutierrez, who attended his rally, told NBC News. “It’s about what he represents. So many doors have been closed in Mexico. Now one opens.”