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From: The Socialist issue 1002, 4 July 2018: NHS: underfunded, under attack

Search site for keywords: Mexico - Elections

Obrador's crushing victory gives hope to Mexico's poor

Obrador's vote was double the combined vote of his rivals, photo ProtoplasmaKid/CC

Obrador's vote was double the combined vote of his rivals, photo ProtoplasmaKid/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Mexico's presidential election on 1 July saw the left anti-establishment candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador or 'Amlo', of his newly founded Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), top the poll with 54%, crushing his establishment opponents.

A parliamentary majority was also won by Morena, along with five of the nine governorships contested, including Mexico City.

Obrador's victory has rattled Mexico's capitalist ruling class and unnerved western governments by raising expectations that Mexico's working class and poor will benefit from a redistribution of wealth and power.

He has pledged to halve his presidential salary and the salaries of senior government officials, introduce a universal pension, give wider access to universities, better public healthcare, and other reforms. However, his campaign team includes leading bankers.

Obrador has changed political colours over the years, starting out on the right but then moving left. 23 years ago Obrador organised a mass non-payment campaign against rip-off electricity charges in the poor southern state of Tabasco.

He was a former mayor of Mexico City and had contested presidential elections twice before. When electoral fraud robbed him of victory in the 2006 elections, a mass movement of workers, peasants and youth opened up revolutionary possibilities in Mexico.

In this election it was not only voters in Mexico's poorest states that backed Obrador. He also won support among middle class voters who are fed up with decades of widespread government corruption and incompetence by the establishment parties - PRI and PAN. Obrador has pledged to root out what he calls the "mafia of power".

Moreover, the current president Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI has failed to deal with the widespread violence perpetrated between the drugs and people-smuggling gangs and the equally violent state forces.

Some 32,000 people have been murdered this year - double that of 2014. And prior to elections over 130 politicians, including 48 candidates, were assassinated.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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