Saturday 22 September 2018

Mexico vote winner puts 'universal deal' to US

Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Photo: AP
Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Photo: AP

Harriet Alexanader

Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador yesterday said he had spoken on the phone to his US counterpart, Donald Trump, and offered to reduce US-bound migration in exchange for American assistance.

"I proposed a universal deal that would create jobs in Mexico and, by doing so, reduce migration and improve security," he tweeted. "The tone was respectful, and our teams will be holding talks."

Promising to combat corruption and drive down record crime rates, Mr Lopez Obrador took 53pc of the vote, according to preliminary results - a historic victory for the MORENA party he created.

Voters turned their backs on the two parties which have ruled Mexico for almost 100 years to give the left-winger the stunning culmination of a decades-long dream.

Mr Trump was quick to congratulate the 64-year-old, who has charted a careful course of not antagonising his northern neighbour but vowing to put Mexico first.

"I look very much forward to working with him," said Mr Trump. "There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico."

Britain's Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was among the first to offer Mr Lopez Obrador congratulations, who on Sunday night won in the largest landslide in his country's recent history.

The pair spent part of the 2016 Christmas holiday together in Mexico, and in September Mr Lopez Obrador toured the House of Commons with the Labour leader.

Today Mr Lopez Obrador will meet President Enrique Pena Nieto to begin the handover process, ahead of his December 1 inauguration.

Top of the agenda will be free trade negotiations and reassessing the deal to build a new Mexico City airport. He said he would seek to stay in a version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) that was good for Mexico.

His platform includes promises to sell the presidential jet, slash his own salary by half, and turn the presidential palace into a cultural centre.

He has campaigned with the pledge of doubling pensions for retirees, increasing scholarships for students, and boosting production and employment in the impoverished south.

How he will pay for this remains unclear.

His team speak vaguely of corruption reductions freeing up millions of dollars.

He has been unspecific in his plan for dealing with Mr Trump, Nafta and the surging violence in the country.

He has only talked about rooting out the causes of organised crime - such as poverty and a lack of opportunities among the young - and an amnesty for cartel members.

Nevertheless, his message has resonated in a country exhausted by endless corruption scandals and a failure to reduce the incessant violence.

Irish Independent

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