What Will Lopez Obrador Do About Mexico's Corruption?

Jul 5, 2018 | 20:24 GMT

Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks July 1 during a celebration at Zocalo square in Mexico City.

Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (left), speaks during a celebration at Zocalo square on July 1 in Mexico City. Lopez Obrador ran on a campaign to stamp out corruption, but a variety of factors are likely to hinder his anti-graft drive.



  • Thanks to a congressional majority, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will become the strongest Mexican president in decades, but questions remain about how he will wield that power.
  • Lopez Obrador's big win, as well as the success of his party in Congress, gives him a mandate to tackle corruption, but he will find it easier to stamp out graft at the federal level than among lower-level officials.
  • As a politician who has acted pragmatically in the past, Lopez Obrador could abandon a far-reaching campaign against corruption in favor of a targeted anti-graft drive.

Some political regimes bend for decades until they break. After years of pressure building on Mexico’s political establishment, an overwhelming presidential and legislative victory by populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mexican voters propelled Lopez Obrador into the country’s highest office with more than half the national vote, the highest tally for any presidential candidate since 1994. Lopez Obrador has a strong platform to target well-entrenched political adversaries under a broad, anti-corruption umbrella. The new president, however, could trigger major upheaval as he strives to tackle graft that has infested the public and private and sectors. The question now is whether Lopez Obrador turns to political pragmatism once in power – becoming a product of the system he was elected to dismantle – or uses the powerful tools at his disposal to try and upend the country’s political order....

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