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Leftist Manuel López Obrador Wins Mexican Presidency In Landslide

Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the MORENA party, shows his ballot to the press before casting it during general elections in Mexico City on Sunday.
Moises Castillo AP
Presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the MORENA party, shows his ballot to the press before casting it during general elections in Mexico City on Sunday.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador — who campaigned partly on a platform of standing up to President Trump — will become Mexico's next president after easily outpacing his two main rivals.

With about a third of the votes counted, López Obrador was polling about 53 percent to 24 percent for conservative candidate Ricardo Anaya and 15 percent for Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) party.


"The tendency favors Andres Manuel López Obrador," Anaya told his supporters minutes after Meade also conceded. "I recognize his triumph."

Pre-election polls had shown López Obrador, a 64-year-old former mayor of Mexico City, as a heavy favorite and exit polls indicated the trend in the early count was almost certain to hold.

López Obrador's calls for transforming Mexico by ousting the "mafia of power" and his advocacy for the poor held strong appeal. In addition, his nationalistic appeals, including a promise to defend Mexicans against U.S. bullying also helped win votes.

The candidate, who goes by the nickname AMLO, even published a book, Oye, Trump ("Listen Up, Trump") aimed squarely at the U.S. president. Even so, as Reuters notes, "López Obrador's nationalism, stubborn nature and put-downs of rivals have drawn comparisons" to Trump.

Trump congratulated the apparent victor in a tweet Sunday night, saying he looked forward to working with him.


As NPR's Carrie Kahn notes, López Obrador "says he's going to cut the perks and corruption from the top and give that money and savings to the bottom — raising salaries, pensions for the elderly, scholarships for the young."

The New York Times writes that the outcome of Sunday's election "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."

That banner for that vision has been carried by Mexico's long dominant PRI party and its outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Exit polls forecast gubernatorial wins for allies of Obrador's Morena party in four of the eight state races being contested, as well as the capital, Mexico City, according to The Associated Press.

Mexico's central state of Guanajuato was expected to go to the conservative National Action Party, the AP says.

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Leftist Manuel López Obrador Wins Mexican Presidency In Landslide
Leftist Manuel López Obrador Wins Mexican Presidency In Landslide GUEST: Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, postdoctoral scholar, UC San Diego Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies

Our top story on Midday edition Mexico's president elect told a crowd of supporters last night that his victory ushered in quote new phase of Mexico and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised I will not fail you. Lopez Obrador also known as Almelo pulled off a landslide victory with a projected winning margin of 31 percent. Almo's victory is being hailed as a success for Mexico's long suffering left wing but most observers say his political base is more complicated than that. Joining me is Cecilia Farfan Mendez postdoc scholar at UC San Diego Center for U.S. Mexican studies. Cecilia welcome to the program. Hi Marian thank you for having me. A professor at a Mexican think tank is quoted in The L.A. Times calling Lopez Obrador quote the most skilled popular politician that Mexico has ever produced unquote. How did he use those skills during the campaign. I think he was able to connect with the population in a way the other two candidates were not able to do so. Mead from the PR Iowa's perceived to be quite the technocrat really always speaking like a government official rather than really being able to reach the population and Annika similarily he was perceive first to have really decimated his own party that began to try to win the candidacy and then not really being able to connect. Not really understanding the issues at hand. Lopez Obrador by talking about corruption constantly during his campaign was able to really tap into that anger that a lot of the Mexican citizens have given the corruption scandals that this administration had now because almost new Maranhão party such a big tent inviting disaffected people from all political viewpoints is it right to call his party leftist. I think you raise a very interesting question and something that we do not really have an answer for yet because they have not governed. We really don't know right now how is it that we're going to tackle some of the issues and as you point out it is a coalition of very different individuals. However I would say that the perception is that certainly that he is leftist. Now is this a left like the ones that exist in Europe. That's something that's yet to be seen. How do Almo's Marena party do in congressional and Senate races did they manage to pick up enough seats to give him the power he needs to implement some of the reforms that he's proposing. So from the resources we have right now that are still preliminary and there are not final results. It does look that he will have a majority in Congress both in the House of Deputies and Senate will be a supermajority or a qualified majority. That's something that remains to be seen. However it certainly looks like he will have enough votes to be able to push forward the reforms that he wants to implement in the country. From his statements on the campaign trail what do you think. Almo's relations with President Trump will be I think that whoever had won the presidency it will be a very complicated relationship for Mexico I think because the international media has made this election incorrectly so about how Mexicans are voting about Trump which is not the case whatsoever. They tend to pit him against Trump. I think it would have been difficult for whoever had won I think in the case of law. What is clear is clear for any other of the candidates is that while yes we're not happy about how this administration has treated Mexico we have to remain the adults in the room because it is one of our most important relationships when it comes to our partners in the world. What do you see as some of the effects on the United States from this win by Lopez Obrador. I think it will be. It will take some time to see effects in the United States. I think right now his agenda is more inward looking. Again we don't know how he said that he will tackle corruption. We don't know the details on a lot of the things that he discussed during his campaign. But it certainly looks like he wants to focus with issues that are happening happening domestically more than internationally. Now how would you characterize the mood in Mexico this morning. There's a new president getting ready to take over. But at the same time Mexico's national men's soccer team lost to Brazil and is out of World of the World Cup I think certainly bittersweet for those who voted for Lopez over Florida and we're rooting for Mexico. But I think overall for those who voted for Lopez Obrador I think there a sense of hope of new possibilities and certainly I think what was very important that happened yesterday and hopefully this will stay will remain the tone in Mexico is that the messages of the two other candidates that were running for big parties so from Meat and from a NAIA were quite fast in conceding defeat. And there were also calling you know there were wishing Lopez were a success for the good of Mexico. And I think that's very relevant that we see those two candidates conceding defeat and also wishing him success. Now although will officially take office on December 1st. What about his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto. What do you think his legacy will be. I think right now the legacy for a new deal will be a complicated one. I think he's leaving office with very high disapproval rate. I think I'm low one a lot of the votes that he was precisely campaigning on corruption and impunity and all the things that you know sort of these administration was not able to do or even exacerbated the perception that they were just you know stealing from the people in terms of the energy reform which I think is one of the main reforms that Pena Nieto pushed. I think right now Lopez Obrador will want to evaluate some of the contracts as he has said he will do so there may be a rollback on some of the perceived accomplishments of the Bonya administration. But I think what is interesting too is that starting from this election we're also going to see the effects of the political reform meaning that it will be the first time in history that senators and deputies will be able to reelect themselves. So Santer's for two terms of 12 years and deputies for four terms. So these will be the first time we're also ushering a new era where we can see these elected officials in fact to be reelected and be held accountable to the people in a way we had not seen before. I've been speaking with Cecilia Farfan Mendez post-box scholar at UC San Diego's center for U.S. Mexican studies. Cecilia thank you. Thank you.