Lopez Obrador claims Mexico presidential election win

An official quick count forecast that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would win Mexico's presidential election with at least 53 percent of the vote. Lopez Obrador spoke of reconciliation on election night, after riding voter anger and discontent.


"I'm very aware of my historical responsibility," López Obrador told throngs of supporters in Mexico City's central square. "I don't want to go into history as a bad president. Now we are going to transform Mexico."

Earlier in a speech to reporters, López Obrador pledged to seek "a relationship of friendship" with the United States, Mexico's largest trading partner.

The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor, who will take office on Dec. 1, is expected to move the country in a more nationalist direction.

López Obrador has pledged to reduce the country's economic dependence on its powerful northern neighbor, but also said he hopes to persuade President Donald Trump to help Mexico and Central America develop so as contain illegal migration to the U.S.

Mexico's current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has quarreled with Trump over trade and migration. The first high-level contact between López Obrador and the White House is likely to be a phone call later on Monday. Trump tweeted his congratulations Sunday night, saying, "There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!"

Earlier Sunday, Trump raised the possibility of taxing cars imported from Mexico if there are tensions with the new government.

According to a quick count by the electoral authority, López Obrador won between 53 and 53.8 percent of votes — more than double the total for his nearest rival. His allies were also forecast to win majorities in the Senate and lower house, according to a prominent exit poll.

The nationwide election effort was marred by violence, with an estimated 130 politicians killed in the course of the campaign across the country. For over a decade, the Mexican military has also been waging a war against hugely powerful drug cartels.

Ruling party candidate José Antonio Meade conceded the election earlier on Sunday, saying his rival bore the responsibility of the next government and wishing him well.

Mexico City was the scene of jubilation, with supporters honking their horns to the tune of "Viva Mexico!" and waving Mexican flags. Thousands heeded López Obrador's call to gather in the sprawling main square known as the Zocalo, with many dancing to mariachi music.

López Obrador's victory highlighted the widespread discontent with outgoing President Enrique Peña Nieto's ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which has governed Mexico for 77 of the past 89 years. Peña Nieto also congratulated López Obrador Sunday, saying, "He and his team will have the support of the Mexican government to make an orderly and efficient transition."

López Obrador is no stranger to political campaigns. This was his third consecutive attempt to win the country's highest office. Mexican presidents sit for one six-year term and are prohibited from holding office again.

López Obrador has pledged to combat inequality, improve pay and welfare spending, and run a tight budget but has been vague on policy details. Around half of the Mexico's population of 124 million live in poverty.

He has also promised to root out widespread corruption.

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