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A commentary on the Mexican elections by Torge Löding

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Torge Löding,

Andrés Manuel López Obrador aka AMLO im mexikanischen Wahlkampf (17.Juni 2018)
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, during the Mexican election campaign (17 June 2018). He is widely regarded as modest and honest. His victory is seen by many as the first democratic victory in Mexican history. Quelle: lopezobrador.org.mx

The left-wing candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) did it: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, referred to as "AMLO" by his supporters, will take over leadership of the Mexican government on 1 December 2018. The election winner spoke in front of hundreds of thousands on the night of Sunday, 1 July, on the "Zócalo", the central square in the capital city which he had been refused use of for his closing campaign rally. His speech renewed his promise to put the poor majority at the heart of his policies and to fight against growing corruption. He also stressed, however, that entrepreneurs, need not be afraid of his government. The former mayor of Mexico City also addressed the LGBTI community directly for the first time, which he views as an integral component of society. AMLO is regarded as modest and honest. His election victory is viewed by many as the first democratic victory in Mexican history.

Final figures are not yet available for the newly-elected first chamber of parliament, but a left-wing majority seems to be emerging. MORENA will also govern four of Mexico's 32 federal states. Alongside the oil-rich state of Veracruz, left-wing candidates also triumphed in Morelos and Chiapas. The head-to-head race in Puebla has not been decided at the time of this writing. In Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as the first woman executive with a clear majority. The environmentalist belongs to MOREONA's left wing.

Following an extremely violent campaign, more shootings also occurred on Sunday. There have been reports of stolen ballots, vote buying, and manipulation. Entrepreneurs and their associations have denounced AMLO as the "Mexican Chávez" and sought to prevent his election with fearmongering. The formerly left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) was a particularly sorry sight. AMLO had been its candidate in 2006 and 2012, but now it campaigned against him and capitulated to the right-wing Catholic Party of National Action (PAN) in an alliance behind the neoliberal right-wing Catholic Ricardo Anaya. His coalition received roughly 22 percent of the vote and took second place, to which the PRD only contributed a paltry five percentage points. The candidate of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), economist José Antonio Meade, won roughly 16 percent.

Now it is up to Mexico’s moderate left to prove for the first time, on the national stage, that it can do a better job of pursuing social concerns and justice. However, it has already entered an alliance with controversial representatives of business and a fundamentalist Evangelical party, and has thus limited its own room to manoeuvre from the beginning.

Torge Löding, 2 July 2018