Leftist firebrand is Mexico prez after landslide victory


MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s next president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Monday he will seek to remain in NAFTA along with the US and Canada and that he respects the existing Mexican team renegotiating the trade pact.
Lopez Obrador won a landslide election victory on Sunday, getting more than double the votes of his nearest rival, dealing a resounding blow to establishment parties and becoming the first leftist to win the Mexican presidency since oneparty rule ended in 2000. “We are going to accompany the current government in this negotiation, we are going to be very respectful, and we are going to support the signing of the agreement,” he said in an interview, saying the aim was a deal on the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement that was good for Mexico. Lopez Obrador, who will take office in December, also said he would pursue a frank dialogue and friendly relations with the United States.
US President Donald Trump has been openly antagonistic to Mexico over trade and migration since his own presidential campaign. The current NAFTA talks began last year after Trump called for the agreement to be renegotiated to better serve US interests. Although Trump congratulated Lopez Obrador in a Twitter message on Sunday night, a White House aide then reiterated one of the US leader’s most controversial campaign promises. “In the case of Mexico, obviously we share a border with them (and) this president has made very clear about building that wall and having Mexico pay for it,” Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News. Lopez Obrador has said he wants to make Mexico more economically independent of the United States. At the same time, he also hopes to persuade Trump to help develop Mexico and Central America in order to contain illegal migration.
Lopez Obrador, a 64-yearold former mayor of Mexico City, won more than 53% of votes in Sunday’s election. A firebrand with a tendency to dismiss his critics in the media and elsewhere, Lopez Obrador won the biggest share of the vote in a Mexican presidential election since the early 1980s.