Mexicans on Sunday appear likely to elect a left-wing populist president who has campaigned on standing up to President Donald Trump, potentially ushering in a more confrontational era of U.S.-Mexico relations on everything from immigration policy to trade.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who styles himself as a champion for rural Mexico, has enjoyed a double-digit lead over the other top candidates from the country’s major parties for months.
His vows to eradicate violence and official corruption — long unaddressed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ruling PRI party — have played a major role in lifting him to the head of the pack. But his pledge to defend Mexicans from Trump, coupled with his nationalistic rhetoric, has also bolstered his standing with Mexican voters.
López Obrador traveled through the U.S. after Trump was elected to advocate for Mexican immigrants living in the states and even published a book called “Oye, Trump” (“Listen Up, Trump”) that condemns Trump’s plans to build a border wall and “his attempts to persecute migrant workers.”
Mexico “will never be the piñata of any foreign government,” López Obrador, 64, told more than 90,000 supporters at a rally here to close out his campaign on Wednesday.
The election of López Obrador — like Trump, known for his impulsive and nationalistic tendencies — could further strain U.S-Mexico relations. The candidate, nicknamed AMLO, says illegal migration to the U.S. should be addressed with economic development programs, not a border wall. And while he supports continued talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, he’s also been a critic of free trade in the past, arguing that Mexico needs to be more self-sufficient….
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