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Thursday, 5 July 2018

With election of new president, often-cynical Mexicans opting for hope

Whitney Eulich
The Christian Science Monitor

It’s not every day a nation wakes up after a presidential vote and collectively dons the colors of their national flag.

In Mexico Monday, that national pride had something to do with a World Cup soccer match. But the image of unity in the flag-waving, jersey-clad masses was an apt reflection of the energy and hope here following Sunday’s historic presidential vote.

Three-time candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly referred to by his initials, AMLO, took the presidency with about 53 percent of the ballots. It’s the first absolute majority earned by a president in nearly two decades, and with 30 points between him and his closest competitor, the highest winning margin since 1982.

Mexicans have long been profoundly cynical when it comes to their elected officials. That's been especially true the past six years, under a president who ran on a platform of change, but instead became synonymous with all-too-familiar scourges like corruption and violence.

But Mr. López Obrador’s overwhelming victory represents a new wave of hope for many here. He ran on promises to end corruption and to direct the country toward a fresh path that leaves behind violence and unemployment. There are nevertheless still plenty of Mexicans, many of whom have expressed a desire for change, who are skeptical of what kind of leader he will be, or if he can deliver on his pledges.

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