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Feature 091712 Grayson-CSIS

Monday, September 17, 2012

Andrés Manuel López Obrador: Mexican 'Déjà Vu All Over Again'

By George W. Grayson

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) recently brought turkeys, ducks, pigs, and other livestock to a news conference to highlight the alleged animals-for-votes giveaway by Enrique Peña Nieto of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who recorded a 6.6 percent advantage in the July 1 presidential showdown.  The Noah's Ark gambit came after the leftist candidate had suffered one legal setback after another in protesting the comparatively huge campaign expenditures, $7.50 food coupons, manipulated opinion polls, and biased media coverage for the widely acknowledged winner.  The final blow came on August 31 when magistrates in Mexico's electoral tribunal unanimously recognized Peña Nieto's victory -- a decision AMLO quickly denounced.

Before this, U.S. President Barack Obama, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and scores of other world leaders, the global business community, the mainstream media, most academic pundits, and the opposition National Action Party (PAN) and New Alliance Party (PANAL) had recognized Peña Nieto's triumph.  The only bitter-enders are elements of the leftist parties that backed AMLO, factions of the #YoSoy132 youth crusade, radical unions, and the leading sensationalist publications La Jornada and Proceso.

Why does AMLO continue to tilt at the establishment's churning windmill when Mexico's congress has ratified Peña Nieto, the attractive former governor of Mexico State, who will don the red, white, and green presidential sash on December 1? What are the similarities between this year's protests and the one that López Obrador waged six years ago when he claimed the mantle of "legitimate president" and refused to recognize the gnat-sized victory of the PAN's Felipe Calderón? How does 2012 differ from 2006, and what does it portend for the 2018 presidential elections?



To read this article in full, please go to "Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: 2006 versus 2012 and Beyond," by George W. Grayson, "Hemisphere Focus" (Sep. 5, 2012), Americas Program, CSIS; reprinted with permission

George W. Grayson, Professor Emeritus at the College of William & Mary, has coauthored, with Sam Logan, The Executioner's Men: Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs, and the Shadow State They Created (Transaction Publishers, 2012); and written, among other books, Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State? (Transaction, 2010).

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