In 2006, Andrés Manuel López Obrador lost to Felipe Calderón by just 0.56 percent. In 2012, he came second to Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto. But on Sunday night – his third time running – AMLO’s three opponents conceded. With more than 53 percent of the vote, 64-year-old AMLO, who formed the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional party in 2014, fired up a country with his promise to champion the poor, stand up to US President Donald Trump, and move away from the establishment – one that has contributed to the violence and corruption present in the country. While some welcome the change, others criticize him for his quickly changing policies. Still others, compare him to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, saying that AMLO’s leftist politics will weaken Mexico’s economy.
On Sunday, Mexicans also hit the polls to elect more than 3,400 local, state, and federal positions, including a new national Congress. With so many seats up for grabs, it was clear that a major shift could take place throughout the country. As a result, politicians became the targets of cartels trying to influence the election. Since kicking off in September 2017, the elections have become violent. An estimated 130 politicians reportedly lost their lives at the hands of cartels.
There’s a lot to unpack after the election, including the unprecedented nature of AMLO’s win, which is just one reason why Sunday was so historically significant. Below, check out why Mexico’s elections were so important.