By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Populist leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) alliance, Juntos Haremos Historia (Together We Shall Make History), won a landslide victory in his bid for the Mexican presidency on Sunday, July 1.
Even before the official preliminary count was in, his opponents, Ricardo Anaya Cortés, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña and Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez Calderón, all conceded the election to López Obrador, who ran on an anti-corruption platform-
In his acceptance speech, offered at 11:15 p.m. Mexico City time Sunday night, AMLO spoke of the need for political and social conciliation and mutual respect for all Mexican citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs and economic status,although much of his campaign was focused on the nation’s underprivileged and poor.
López Obrador also said he would recognize all of Mexico’s current commitments and agreements with financial institutions, private-sector corporations and foreign governments, despite the fact that he had threatened to rescind the Education and Energy Reforms of his predecessor, which opened the door for foreign investment in the country’s oil sector.
On Sunday night, AMLO vowed that there would be no expropriations of properties or corporations under his six-year administration.
AMLO likewise said that, during his administration, there will be no impunity or corruption permitted and that any government official found guilty of graft will be punished, without exception.
There had been talk during the campaign that he had made a pact with Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to overlook allegations of graft and corruption in exchange for nonintervention in the electoral process.
He also spoke about the rights of the country’s indigenous communities and impoverished sectors and promised to strive to reduce violence nationwide, although he offered no specific explanation as to how this will be done.
In the last six years, crime and violence have reached their highest level in two decades, with more than 23,000 murders in 2017, translating into a rate of one death every 20 minutes,.
At the root of all the increased violence is blatant corruption, a weak judiciary and unbridled drug cartel power grabs.
“Peace and tranquility are the fruits of justice,” AMLO said, promising to right these wrongs.
Regarding Mexico’s foreign policy, AMLO said that the country’s international relations will be based on nonintervention and respect for the peaceful resolution of all differences.
Cheering supporters of AMLO filled the streets of Mexico City’s Colonia Roma, Zócalo and Avenida Reforma, and there were large congregations of celebrating AMLO fans in other parts of the country.
At 11 p.m. Mexico City time, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) president Lorenzo Córdova Vianello officially announced that early counts gave AMLO a resounding victory over his competitors., although the final count has yet to be announced and will take 48 hours.
No major incidences of violence were reported, although there were more than 3,000 reports of alleged voting poll irregularities.
López Obrador will take office on Dec. 1 and will serve as Mexican president from 2018 to 2024.
Shortly after the INE announcement, current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto from the opposition PRI acknowledged a preliminary win for his nemesis López Obrador.
At 10 p.m., U.S. President Donald J. Trump tweeted congratulations to AMLO, expressing his enthusiasm to work with Mexico new president-elect.
Trump was the first becoming the first foreign head of state to congratulate AMLO on his win after the official INE announcement. (Venezuela’s leftist president, Nicolás Maduro and Evo Morales of Bolivia both offered their congratulations prior to the formal announcement.)
Notwithstanding, bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States are extremely strained at this point in time, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations remain stalled.
López Obrador, who had run for the office of Mexican president twice before, announced his victory in the central plaza of the Zócalo.
The 64-year-old AMLO is a former Mexico City mayor who won national support for his modest lifestyle and disdain for luxury and political corruption.
During his campaign, he also expressed controversial plans to offer amnesty to certain criminals and criminal groups in Mexico, a move that sparked concern and controversy even among his own supporters.
This position and his anti-establishment rhetoric specifically led to concern from both private-sector corporations and international investors.
AMLO promised to support the nation’s underprivileged sectors and to fight against corruption, which has been one of the country’s most serious obstacles in achieving a credible democracy and functional justice system.
With less than 10 percent of the vote counted late Sunday night, the National Electoral Institute released figures indicating that AMLO had 48.6 percent of the vote, with a projected 53 to 53.8 percent of the vote at final count.
He was followed at that time by conservative candidate Ricardo Anaya Cortés, with 26.9 percent of the vote, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña at 15.5 percent and independent candidate Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez Calderón trailing with 6.4 percent.
Also according to early poll data from INE, AMLO’s Morena alliance had claimed 30.1 percent of all senate seats and 62.4 percent of national deputy congressional seats.
Anaya’s conservative alliance between the rightwing National Action Party (PAN), leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and grassroots Citizens Movement (MC) had won 22.8 percent of senate seats and 27 percent of the Chamber of Deputies seats, with 19 seats yet to be called.
This constituted the largest election in Mexican history, with more than 3,400 seats up for grabs, most of which are still not counted.
Among the races were eight for governorships, including for the states of Guanajuato, Veracruz, Puebla, Chiapas, Jalisco, Morelos, Tabasco, Yucatan, as well as for the leadership of Mexico City, which is home to roughly 20 percent of the nation’s population.
At 10:20 p.m. on Sunday night, the mayor-elect of Mexico City looked to be Claudia Sheinbaum from AMLO’s Morena alliance, with 45.3 percent of the vote, with her closest competitor, Alejandra Barrales with 30.8 percent.
Early polls point to gubernatorial victories for Morena candidates in the states of Chiapas, Veracruz, Tabasco and Puebla.
In the southeastern state of Tabasco, the Morena gubernatorial candidate Adán Augusto López had a runaway 78.7 percent of the vote.
But in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the predicted winner was Diego Sinhué Rodríguez of the PAN-PRD-MC alliance, with more than 54 percent of the vote.
In the southern state of Yucatán, the PRI was expected to be victorious.
The other gubernatorial races were considered too close to call at the time of this publication.
According to INE statistics, voter turnout for the election was an unprecedented 62.6 percent.