Andros Manuel Lopez Obrador has won the Mexican elections in a resounding fashion, which will make him the first leftist president since the country began its transition into a democracy about 30 years ago, according to the Washington Post.
Obrador’s victory is all the more special when one considers that his party didn’t even exist at the time of the last elections, while the parties that his two main rivals, Ricardo Anaya and Jose Antonio Meadem, belong to have ruled Mexico for almost a century. Both Anaya and Meadem conceded defeat Sunday night, congratulating Obrador on his unlikely win.
Obrador had campaigned on a promise of cracking down on corruption in a country which has seen its public coffers embezzled by politicians. Political leaders, state police, and drug cartels are known to work hand in hand in a country seething with a low human development index and high crime rates. Outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto has been panned by critics who accuse him of encouraging and orchestrating massive financial and political scandals.
The incoming president appealed to Mexico’s masses, saying that his leftist ideals will see him work for the poor and come down hard on the political elite. Obrador’s assurances, often emphasizing his distaste for an exorbitant living, seemed to work particularly well with the Mexican youth tired of seeing no employment opportunities.
#Mexico. Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won Mexico's presidential election Sunday by a large margin, according to exit polls, in a landmark break with the parties that have governed for nearly a century. #AFPphoto by @rschemidt pic.twitter.com/OJUyzxk5GB
— AFP Photo (@AFPphoto) July 2, 2018
Over many decades, Mexican leadership has often pandered to American interests, but Obrador’s role models are traditional Mexican heroes who have been known to stand up to foreign powers. The incoming president is hugely critical of U.S. president Donald Trump, saying he will fight tooth and nail to establish that the proposed wall at the US-Mexican border be seen as a human rights violation.
His supporters say that Obrador’s win could in large part be due to the disillusionment of the Mexican people at the state of affairs, while his personal charisma and longevity seems to have played a pivotal role in swinging voters towards the insurgent candidate.
But Obrador’s critics argue that because of his background and ideological beliefs, Obrador will push Mexico back to a path of state intervention, and possibly even develop a form of government which rules with a heavy hand.
Whether Obrador lives up to his promises of working for the poor and eradicating corruption, or whether he uses the opportunity to consolidate his own leadership remains to be seen, but his win definitely marks a great turn of events for Mexican politics.