Andrés Manuel López Obrador is Sworn in as Mexico’s New President
Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s new president over the weekend. López Obrador is set to govern for one six-year term, as presidents are not allowed to run for reelection in Mexico.
López Obrador, also referred to as Amlo because of his initials, obtained a majority vote in the two chambers of Congress and received 53 percent of the presidential vote.
López Obrador stated in the Congressional Palace, “Today begins a change in the political regime… The corruption and impunity that has impeded the rebirth of Mexico will end.” Amlo reiterated the plan to turn Mexico “into an economic power, a model to be followed that will show the world that ending corruption is possible.”
Part of this change in the political regime is a more austere and less ostentatious government. As part of this new austerity, Amlo flew on a commercial plane stating, “I won’t get on the presidential plane. I would be so embarrassed; my face would fall from the shame of boarding a luxurious plane in a country where there is so much poverty.”
Amlo has sworn to sell the presidential plane, cut his salary by 60 percent, and renounce the Presidential Palace as his residence.
In his speech at the Congressional Palace in Mexico, Amlo thanked outgoing President Peña Nieto for his considerations, but overall for not intervening in the elections as other presidents have done in previous elections.
However, Amlo criticized the neoliberal policies of the previous Mexican governments, referring to them as a “disaster, a calamity” which has resulted in increasing income inequality and the migration of impoverished workers.
Although much of López Obrador’s rhetoric is left-leaning, and he has been branded as “the first avowed leftist president of this generation” in Mexico, many of his policies are centrist in nature.
In November, López Obrador announced he would cancel the construction of the new $13 billion airport in Mexico City and proposed limits on bank fees, causing the stock market to decrease by 14 points and the Mexican Peso to weaken.
Despite the proposal, López Obrador has promised to respect the independence of the Central Bank and to not expropriate land. He has also been vocal in maintaining amical economic relations with the United States and Canada through the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Regarding Mexico’s relationship with the United States, which has been quite controversial under President Trump’s administration, López Obrador stated, “I want to point out that from the day of my election I have received respectful treatment from President Donald Trump, whom I thank for having sent his daughter Ivanka to this ceremony in a message of friendship.”
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, tweeted his support for Amlo, “Today I’m proud to attend the historic inauguration of Mexico’s new president @lopezobrador_ elected to bring justice and human rights to millions. He has shown how a progressive agenda of transformation can win and challenge the power of the few.”
Various world leaders and dignitaries were in attendance, including His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, President Evo Morales of Bolivia, President Manuel Díaz-Canel of the Council of the State of Cuba, President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador, President Jimmy Morales of Guatemala, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and U.S. First Daughter Ivanka Trump.
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was invited to the Congressional Palace but did not attend due to protests against his invitation.