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Mexico’s New President Turns Back the Clock on Democracy

López Obrador Has Consolidated Too Much Power

AMLO greets supporters at an event in Piedras Negras, Mexico, May 2019 Handout / Reuters

The first five months of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s presidency have been a roller-coaster ride for Mexico. The new government has moved quickly to differentiate itself from past administrations by enacting bold changes in a whirlwind of presidential announcements, decrees, constitutional modifications, and reforms. The results have been mixed and often unpredictable—but with a 65 percent approval rating, a mandate for transformation, and an ineffectual opposition, López Obrador has faced little obstacle to shaking up the status quo.

The president has promised to fight corruption, alleviate the plight of 53 million Mexicans who live below the poverty line, and address the rising levels of insecurity and violence that plague the country. In order to achieve these goals and do so rapidly, López Obrador has dismantled many of the checks and balances that Mexico’s reformers have struggled to construct over the past three decades. He insists

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