“AMLO” wins Mexican Presidency
Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cheers his supporters. - AFP
Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cheers his supporters. - AFP

MEXICO: Anti-establishment Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador swept to victory in Mexico’s presidential election Sunday, in a political sea change driven by voters’ anger over endemic corruption and brutal violence.

According to exit polls, the sharp-tongued, silver-haired politician known as “AMLO” won by a large margin over his two main rivals, who both conceded defeat shortly after the polls closed -- laying to rest concerns that a deeply divided country could face prolonged uncertainty over the winner. Thousands of ecstatic supporters flooded central Mexico City’s Zocalo square and Alameda park, celebrating to the sounds of mariachi music as Lopez Obrador slowly made his way there from his campaign headquarters in a motorcade, swarmed by huge crowds.

“The government was failing. We needed a real change,” said one elated supporter, Jose Gutierrez, 44.

Runner-up Ricardo Anaya of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and third-place candidate Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) both congratulated Lopez Obrador and wished him success. It is a major shift in Mexican politics: the PRI and PAN have governed for nearly a century, and Lopez Obrador will be the country’s first leftist president in recent history when he takes office on December 1.

Three polling firms gave the former Mexico City mayor the win. Newspaper El Financiero’s exit poll gave him 49 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Anaya and 18 percent for Meade.

Polling firms Mitofsky and the Strategic Communications Cabinet announced broadly similar results. Lopez Obrador, 64, successfully tapped voters’ anger over a seemingly never-ending series of corruption scandals and horrific violence that left a record 25,000 murders last year -- an orgy of bloodshed fueled by the country’s powerful drug cartels.

Casting his ballot early Sunday at his polling station in Mexico City’s Tlalpan district, he called the elections “historic.” “We represent the possibility of real change,” he told hundreds of journalists crowded at the entrance, promising a “peaceful transformation” of the country. AFP


Add new comment

Or log in with...