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  • Mexico's President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador talks to reporters before casting his vote in a public consultation. Oct. 25, 2018.

    Mexico's President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador talks to reporters before casting his vote in a public consultation. Oct. 25, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 October 2018

The US$13 billion airport has been partially built and is backed by many wealthy Mexican investors. 

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday his government would follow the results of a referendum where voters called for ditching a part-built US$13 billion new airport for Mexico City.

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Lopez Obrador told reporters that the government would save around 100 billion pesos (US$5 billion) by adding two runways to convert a military air base north of the capital and keep the current airport.

"Our decision is to follow the referendum mandate," Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Mexico City. "The citizen’s decision is rational and democratic."

Lopez Obrador defended the public consultation about whether to continue the construction of a new Mexico City airport, rejecting criticism the vote was rigged.

The poll, which ran from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, showed that voters wanted the cancelation of the controversial project.

The vote was the first trial of Lopez Obrador's ability to carry out promised referendums, as well as a test of his economic policy and relations with the country's business elite, who he criticized during his election campaign.

Lopez Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1, won a landslide victory in July on his third attempt to win the presidency. He had alleged widespread voting fraud sabotaged his previous bids.

Lopez Obrador has criticized the multi-billion dollar new airport for cost overruns and has alleged it was tainted by corruption. During the campaign, he proposed canceling construction, which has been underway since 2015.

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