New leftist president gets chance to shape Mexico

For the first time in decades, a leftist leader, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (pictured), has won Mexico’s presidential election with a thumping mandate to bring in social change.

Lopez Obrador, better known as AMLO by his initials, won 53 per cent of the vote, according to an official projection of the results.

His main rivals Ricardo Anaya of the National Action Party and Jose Antonio Meade of the Institutional Revolutionary Party conceded defeat soon after the polls closed.

This was Lopez Obrador’s third attempt at the presidency.

Addressing supporters in a victory speech in Mexico City’s Alameda park, Lopez Obrador said this is a historic day, and it will be a memorable night.

The coalition led by his Morena party is doing well in state and congressional elections too. So far, it has won five of the nine governor’s races.

This time, a majority of Mexico’s 88 million voters supported the 64-year-old leftist who has vowed to fight corruption, end the cycle of violence and remove poverty.

He has also promised more pensions for old people, educational grants for youth and support for farmers.

He is hoping to raise money for social schemes with the money saved by eliminating corruption. His critics, however, are sceptical about this.

Mexicans are worried about their safety as crime rates are on the rise. Some 25,000 murders were recorded last year and 174 political murders have taken place since September last year. Drug cartels are involved in most of the political killings.

On the business front, the leftist leader will have to convince foreign investors that Mexico is market-friendly.

Amid the ongoing trade war, he will have to walk a tightrope on ties with the US.

On Sunday, US President Donald Trump congratulated Lopez Obrador on his election victory. Trump said he is looking forward to working with him adding that there is much to be done that will benefit both the US and Mexico.

Meanwhile, back home, the poor are pinning their hopes on the new president and the rich are worried about their future.