MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador swept to victory in Mexico’s presidential election Sunday, in a political sea change driven by voters’ anger over endemic corruption and brutal violence.
The sharp-tongued, silver-haired politician known as “AMLO” won 53 percent of the vote, according to an official projection of the results.
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.