Mexican leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins
Mexican leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins.
MEXICO CITY — Riding a wave of populist anger fueled by rampant corruption and violence, the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected president of Mexico on Sunday, in a landslide victory that upended the nation’s political establishment and handed him a sweeping mandate to reshape the country.
Mr. López Obrador’s win puts a leftist leader at the helm of Latin America’s second-largest economy for the first time in decades, a prospect that has filled millions of Mexicans with hope — and the nation’s elites with trepidation.
The outcome represents a clear rejection of the status quo in the nation, which for the last quarter century has been defined by a centrist vision and an embrace of globalization that many Mexicans feel has not served them.
The core promises of Mr. López Obrador’s campaign — to end corruption, reduce violence and address Mexico’s endemic poverty — were immensely popular with voters, but they come with questions he and his new government may struggle to answer.
How he will pay for his ambitious slate of social programs without overspending and harming the economy? How will he rid the government of bad actors when some of those same people were a part of his campaign? Can he make a dent in the unyielding violence of the drug war, which left Mexico with more homicides last year than any time in the last two decades?
And how will Mr. López Obrador, a firebrand with a tendency to dismiss his critics in the media and elsewhere, govern?
In the end, the nation’s desire for change outweighed any of the misgivings the candidate inspired.
“It is time for a change, it’s time to go with López Obrador, and see what happens,” said Juan de Dios Rodríguez, 70, a farmer in the state of Hidalgo, a longtime bastion of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which has dominated politics in Mexico for nearly his entire life. “This will be my first time voting for a different party.”
In his third bid for the presidency, Mr. López Obrador, 64, won in what authorities called the largest election in Mexican history, with some 3,400 federal, state and local races contested in all.