In first presidential speech, Mexico's Lopez Obrador promises radical change

Reuters
Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico Published: Dec 01, 2018, 11.22 PM(IST)

Mexico's new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waves while arriving to the Congress for his inauguration, in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Backed by a giant Mexican flag, the first leftist in a generation to take the oath of office in Mexico's lower house of Congress said decades of 'neo-liberal' governments had left a disastrous legacy.

Veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Mexican president on Saturday, promising radical change in a country struggling to overcome gang violence, chronic poverty and corruption on the doorstep of the United States.

Backed by a giant Mexican flag, the first leftist in a generation to take the oath of office in Mexico's lower house of Congress said decades of "neo-liberal" governments had left a disastrous legacy.

"Starting now, the transformation is underway, ordered and peaceful but at the same time radical, because we will end the corruption and impunity that impede Mexico's rebirth," he said.

He said the government of his predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto had caused a plunge in oil output by opening the energy industry in Latin America's second-largest economy to private investment.

Some of the toughest problems Lopez Obrador faces are more severe than when Pena Nieto took office in 2012 vowing to tackle unprecedented violence. Like his predecessor, the new president says security will be his top priority.

More than 25,000 murders, a record, were logged in 2017. But over 10,000 were registered between July and October, the bloodiest four-month period since modern records began in 1997.

Lopez Obrador enters office with more support than Pena Nieto, according to a Nov. 23-25 survey by polling firm Consulta Mitofsky published on Friday.

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