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  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes a selfie with supporters during Morena

    Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes a selfie with supporters during Morena's National Conference in Mexico City, Nov. 20, 2016. | Photo: Morena

Published 21 November 2016

Mexico's most prominent left-wing politician has promised to cut the president's salary while cracking down on corruption in public office.

One of Mexico’s most prominent politicians, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has launched his campaign for the 2018 elections in his third run for president — this time as a candidate for his left-wing Morena party and with a brand new platform focused on tackling inequality and corruption.

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Lopez Obrador unveiled Sunday a 50-point agenda that will form the basis of his campaign for the July 2018 elections. He said his plan, if elected, would be to “govern with justice, banish corruption, abolish impunity, act with austerity and allocate all that is saved to finance the development of the country.”

His austerity plans, however, take a different shape than most, with proposals including slashing the salaries of top elected officials, canceling cushy pensions for retired presidents and selling off the president’s elite fleet of helicopters and other special transportation. “In short,” Lopez Obrador said during an event in Mexico City, “the privileges will end.”

Meanwhile, Lopez Obrador — also known in Mexico by his initials AMLO — promised to increase the minimum wage, increase pensions, guarantee jobs and schooling for over 2.5 million youth, overhaul Mexico’s relationship with the United States, revamp the national strategy to tackle violence, undo controversial structural reforms, reactivate the agricultural sector and scrap highly contested plans for building a new airport for Mexico City.

“With this new way of doing politics,” Lopez Obrador said, “the material well being and wellbeing of the soul will be achieved for the happiness of all.”

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The well-known politician already ran for president with the Party of the Democratic Revolution, also known as the PRD, in 2006 against Felipe Calderon and again in 2012 against current President Enrique Peña Nieto, both of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Both elections were mired in controversy and hotly contested.

After the 2012 election, Lopez Obrador withdrew from the PRD and formed his own political party, the Movement for National Regeneration or Morena.

President Enrique Peña Nieto continues to face low approval ratings, which have slumped to 25 percent since the U.S. election, according to a poll by El Universal. The president has sparked criticism over being embroiled in corruption scandals, implementing unpopular neoliberal reforms, inviting Donald Trump to visit while on the campaign trail and overseeing a deadly spike in forced disappearances since entering office.

Lopez Obrador’s proposals speak to many of the key issues that have contributed to Peña Nieto’s unpopularity. On corruption, his platform calls for constitutional changes that would allow heads of state and other top officials to face trial for fraud. On structural reforms — such as those Peña Nieto introduced in education that sparked months of protests from radical teachers calling for the defense of public education against creeping privatization — Lopez Obrador has pledged to review such changes through popular consultation.

He also promised a ban on genetically modified seeds — a hot button issue in the historical birthplace of corn — and other agricultural programs in the name of “preserving Mexico’s great cultural and biological diversity” and boosting “food sovereignty” and national self-sufficiency.

Lopez Obrador unveiled his 50-point agenda as part of Morena’s Second National Conference over the weekend focused on the party’s plans for the 2017 state elections and 2018 presidential elections.

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