Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins Mexican presidency

PTI

 Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waves to supporters as he gives his first victory speech from his campaign headquarters in Mexico City, Sunday, July 1, 2018. Lopez Obrador has claimed victory in Mexico's presidential election, calling for reconciliation.  (Photo: AP/PTI)

Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waves to supporters as he gives his first victory speech from his campaign headquarters in Mexico City, Sunday, July 1, 2018. Lopez Obrador has claimed victory in Mexico’s presidential election, calling for reconciliation. (Photo: AP/PTI)

Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won Mexico’s presidential election on Monday with more than half the vote, according to an official projection of the results, a resounding rejection of the country’s established parties.

The fiery leftist known as “AMLO” won between 53 and 53.8 per cent of the vote, according to a projection by the National Electoral Institute, based on a sample of polling stations.

It gave Ricardo Anaya of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) between 22.1 and 22.8 per cent, Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) between 15.7 and 16.3 per cent, and independent candidate Jaime Rodriguez between 5.3 and 5.5 per cent.

It is the first time in Mexico’s modern history a candidate has won more than half the vote in a competitive election, and a resounding rejection of the two parties that have governed the country for nearly a century.

“This is a historic day, and it will be a memorable night,” Lopez Obrador said in a victory speech in Mexico City’s Alameda park, as thousands of ecstatic supporters flooded the capital’s central district, chanting “Yes we did!” and partying to mariachi music.

Lopez Obrador, 64, sought to downplay fears of radicalism, after critics branded him a “tropical Messiah” who would install Venezuela-style policies that could wreck Latin America’s second-largest economy.

“Our new national project seeks an authentic democracy. We are not looking to construct a dictatorship, either open or hidden,” he told cheering supporters, promising to safeguard freedoms, respect the private sector and work to reconcile a divided nation.

He also vowed to pursue a relationship of “friendship and cooperation” with the United States, Mexico’s key trading partner — a change in tone from some comments during the campaign, when he said he would put US President Donald Trump “in his place.” Trump, whose anti-trade, anti-immigration policies have infuriated Mexico, appeared ready to start off on the right foot.