New era in Mex­ico

New leader must grap­ple with high crime, cor­rup­tion

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Patrick J. Mcdon­nell Los An­ge­les Times

New pres­i­dent prom­ises rad­i­cal change.

Mex­ico City An­dres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn into of­fice Satur­day as Mex­ico’s pres­i­dent, vow­ing to do away with cor­rup­tion and launch a sweep­ing trans­for­ma­tion of Mex­i­can so­ci­ety amid wide­spread dis­en­chant­ment spurred by ris­ing crime, unchecked of­fi­cial graft and lim­ited eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“To­day be­gins a change in the po­lit­i­cal regime,” Lopez Obrador, don­ning the tri­color pres­i­den­tial sash, told law­mak­ers con­vened at the con­gres­sional palace where he for­mally as­sumed power.

He pledged to ful­fill his cam­paign prom­ise for a “peace­ful and or­derly” trans­for­ma­tion, “but at the same time, pro­found and rad­i­cal,” promis­ing to in­crease so­cial spend­ing and launch in­fra­struc­ture projects while avoid­ing new taxes and hold­ing gaso­line and en­ergy prices in check.

“The cor­rup­tion and im­punity that has im­peded the re­birth of Mex­ico will end,” the new pres­i­dent added.

Lopez Obrador made yet an­other bow to­ward friendly re­la­tions with the United States and with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has an­gered many Mex­i­cans with com­ments and ac­tions viewed as Mex­ico-bash­ing.

“I want to point out that from the day of my elec­tion I have re­ceived a re­spect­ful treat­ment from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, whom I thank for hav­ing sent to this cer­e­mony in a mes­sage of friend­ship his daugh­ter Ivanka,” Lopez Obrador said.

Ivanka Trump, who was seated in the au­di­ence next to Lopez Obrador’s wife, stood up in recog­ni­tion of the shout-out from Mex­ico’s new pres­i­dent.

Lopez Obrador, who turned 65 last month and is widely known by his ini­tials, AMLO, em­barks on a sin­gle six-year term.

Un­der Mex­i­can law, pres­i­dents are not al­lowed to run for re-elec­tion.

He is Mex­ico’s first avowed left­ist pres­i­dent in a gen­er­a­tion and is also the first in mod­ern his­tory elected not as the can­di­date of a tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal party but of his own left-wing po­lit­i­cal bloc.

His pop­ulist ora­tory and anti-es­tab­lish­ment mes­sage drew land­slide sup­port from Mex­i­can vot­ers dis­cour­aged by cor­rup­tion scan­dals, slow eco­nomic growth and record homi­cide rates.

Seated to Lopez Obrador’s left at the han­dover cer­e­mony was out­go­ing Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto, whom Lopez Obrador thanked pub­licly for “not in­ter­ven­ing” in the July elec­tions, “un­like other pres­i­dents in past elec­tions.”

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