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  • Lopez Obrador in the Central Mexican city of Puebla on Sunday

    Lopez Obrador in the Central Mexican city of Puebla on Sunday | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 March 2019

In his July election, Lopez Obrador triumphed with 53 percent of the vote. Now, the president has the support of almost four out of five Mexicans, according to one recent opinion poll.

After 100 days in office, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has maintained the massive popularity he had when elected..

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"We are going to fulfill all of our promises," Lopez Obrador told a crowd in the Central Mexican city of Puebla on Sunday.

Relentlessly hammering home his commitment to end Mexico's chronic inequality, he has often used his media appearances to denounce previous neo-liberal administrations he accuses of ruining Mexico, such as that of his predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto.

"The truth is I've liked the change that there has been with him lately a lot. For example, the other presidents, from what I've seen, spent a lot of money on their travels, and with him it's very different. And how he lives together with society more, with the people, that's what I like about him," 25 year-old construction worker Freddy said about Lopez Obrador on Sunday.

Widely known as "AMLO," the anti-establishment leftist swept into office on December 1 with a powerful mandate, having dethroned the two parties that ruled Mexico for nine decades — and winning 53 percent of the vote and strong majorities in both houses of Congress along the way.

Since then, the anti-corruption crusader has overhauled the Mexican presidency — giving up the presidential mansion, jet, bodyguards and 60 percent of the salary — all while lunging frantically from one sweeping reform proposal to the next.

As he marks his 100th day in office Sunday, Lopez Obrador, 65, has a 78 percent approval rating, according to a recent poll by newspaper El Financiero.

The survey comes as the central bank has reduced its economic growth forecast for the year, amid policy uncertainty and rocky relations between Lopez Obrador and the business sector. Meanwhile, the president has pushed consumer confidence to its highest level since at least 2001.

A crackdown on fuel theft — a huge criminal industry that costs Mexico US$3 billion a year  and cuts in the government bureaucracy aimed at funding a raft of social programs have also been part of the measures implemented so far.

The president also canceled a US$13-billion Mexico City airport which was backed by Mexico's richest man, Carlos Slim, as the airport was strongly contested over corruption concerns.

During the gasoline shortages, he took his case to the people, explaining he had to close pipelines temporarily to fight fuel theft gangs and the corrupt officials in bed with them. His popularity rose 10 points, to 86 percent, in El Financiero's next poll.

Lopez Obrador has also scored one major legislative success: passing a constitutional amendment to create a military-civilian National Guard. It is his plan to end Mexico's bloody and widely criticized "drug war," launched in 2006 when the government deployed the army to fight drug cartels.


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