from Latin America's Moment

Lopez Obrador's Presidency Will Roll Back Mexico's Gains

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes part in an indigenous ceremony during the AMLO Fest at Zocalo square in Mexico City, Mexico. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

His personalistic presidency threatens years of hard-won institutional gains.

Originally published at Bloomberg

November 30, 2018

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes part in an indigenous ceremony during the AMLO Fest at Zocalo square in Mexico City, Mexico. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
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On December 1 Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s self-proclaimed Fourth Transformation begins. Yet instead of kicking off a positive transformational change, the new president’s personalistic mission looks to end years of hard-fought institutional gains.

Over the last three decades Mexico has changed. What was once a closed commodity-driven economy is now open, globally competitive and dominated by manufacturing. A nation once known for its few haves and many have-nots has seen extreme poverty fall to 2.5 percent, infant mortality cut to a third, average lifespans rise by a decade, and the number of years children stay in school grow by half. Politically, decades of one-party rule ended in competitive if at times messy democracy.

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This slow-moving transformation also embodies a bigger achievement: a shift away from informal, personalistic, and centralized power through the strengthening of institutions. Pushed by opposition politicians, civil society organizations, investigative journalists, entrepreneurs and the decisions of millions of business owners, workers, and voters, Mexico has become a place with a diverse and increasingly independent private sector, with greater transparency and access to information and incipient but growing political checks and balances.

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More on:

Mexico

Populism

Elections and Voting

Emerging Economies

NAFTA

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