Mexico leftist vows no tolerance on corruption after historic win

Alicia Cross
July 5, 2018

How well the two men get on will determine whether fraught U.S. -Mexico relations improve from current tensions over migration, the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trump's demand that Mexico pay for a border wall. His election marks the first leftist presidential win in 30 years for Mexico.

Mexico is now renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement - known as NAFTA - with the United States and Canada.

Lopez Obrador spoke to the crowd there around midnight, saying to loud applause: "Today one stage has ended and we are going to begin another one - we are going to transform Mexico!"

Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales tweeted: "We are sure that his government will write a new page on Latin America's dignity and sovereignty". If he makes headway against those problems, he will help create for the USA a stronger, more reliable neighbor and trading partner.

Lopez Obrador, a one-time NAFTA skeptic who moderated his views in his third run at the presidency, said in a Mexican TV interview on Monday that he wanted a NAFTA deal that was good for Mexico.

Conservative Ricardo Anaya of a right-left coalition and the PRI's Jose Antonio Meade acknowledged defeat shortly after polls closed nationwide.

On the campaign trail, Lopez Obrador often railed against his predecessor's energy reform and had vowed to review contracts issued to private energy firms for signs of corruption.

Mexico's election tribunal says it will ratify the election results by no later than September 6.

The victory was a vindication for Lopez Obrador, who was written off by many critics after narrowly failing to capture the presidency at his first bid in 2006.

"We will eradicate corruption in Mexico", Obrador told journalists on late Sunday, as quoted by the TV Azteca broadcaster.

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He said the 2019 budget will include increasing pensions for the elderly and funds for his other campaign promises.

The bishops of Mexico congratulated Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador on his election as the next president of the country, stressing the need to "collaborate in a positive way with our elected officials".

Lopez Obrador won thanks to overwhelming anger at the status quo and his success at presenting himself as an agent of change.

"We're looking at a shift in Mexican politics", he explained.

Lopez Obrador has been compared to Trump for his populist, nationalist rhetoric and sometimes touchy personality - as well as his past skepticism about NAFTA.

Official statistics show that more than 25,000 people were murdered in Mexico past year alone. Talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to revise the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been hard.

"We would not want this organism to be any way partisan", he said. Obrador's party is called the National Regeneration Movement, which promises to bring sweeping changes over the next six years of Lopez' term.

"They will inherit the talks where they are - now at a standstill, largely given USA recalcitrance to compromise with its neighbours", she said, noting that Mexico has imposed its own retaliatory tariffs and the new administration would likely follow the same approach.

Carlos Urzua, Lopez Obrador's pick to be his finance minister when he takes office on December 1, told Reuters on Monday that the new government will aim to reform the pension system and to reduce costs at Pemex during its six-year term.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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