New era in Mexico
New leader must grapple with high crime, corruption
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.”