Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is better known by his initials, AMLO, won Mexico’s presidential election. The left-wing candidate ousted the incumbent, President Enrique Peña Nieto. The 64-year-old campaigned on a platform that addressed governmental corruption and greed, working to improve the lives of the 44% of the population that lives below the poverty line, and against the focus on free trade and foreign investment that has allowed crime to skyrocket.
His platform resonated with voters and he won 53% of the vote and, with the widest margin in a presidential election since the 1980s. His left-wing government will take power at a time when the Trump Administration has put Mexico at odds with the United States. President Trump has tweeted his congratulations:
Congratulations to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on becoming the next President of Mexico. I look very much forward to working with him. There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2018
Here are four things to know about AMLO:
- He comes from the southern state of Tabasco, an impoverished region that has been exploited by the oil industry. Per The Guardian, he became politically active in the late 1970s, when he served as a local representative for the National Indigenous Institute, working to protect his state’s indigenous Chontal Maya people. He also protested the oil industry’s practices in his state and demanded they compensate the indigenous communities whose lands have been polluted. In his presidential campaign, he vowed to review energy firm contracts with the government for signs of corruption.
- He first came to political power as the mayor of Mexico City. He left that post to run for president in 2006. He narrowly lost, which he claimed was due to fraud. He then launched street protests many thought would end his political career, Reuters reports.
- He ran as a member of the political party he founded in 2014, the Movement for National Regeneration, or Morena. His election to the presidency marks the end of the one-party rule which has been in place since 2000.
- He wasn’t the only winner from his political party. The Guardian reports that the Morena party won at least five of nine gubernatorial races, with the winners including Mexico City’s first elected female mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum. “We won! We’ll rescue the City of Hope,” she tweeted.