Lopez Obrador promises to step down after 1 term

President responds to accusations that he's trying to bust term limit

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signals a reporter during a daily briefing at the National Palace in January. Photo: Getty
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signals a reporter during a daily briefing at the National Palace in January. Photo: Getty

Proclaiming that he is not a “vulgar, ambitious” politician, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised not to run for a second term in 2024.

AMLO made the statement to quash opposition claims that he is laying the groundwork for re-election, newspapers reported. Mexican presidents have been limited to a single term for nearly 100 years.

The lower house Chamber of Deputies on Thursday passed a bill designed to enshrine in the constitution Lopez Obrador’s campaign pledge to subject his presidency to a recall referendum halfway through his six-year term.

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Opposition lawmakers said re-election was the next step.  One of Lopez Obrador’s historical heroes, Francisco I. Madero, campaigned to overturn the 35-year dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz — triggering the Mexican revolution — under the slogan “universal suffrage, no re-election.”

“I heard some legislators saying it [the bill] was a dress-rehearsal for re-election,” the president told his morning news conference today.

“On Monday, I am going to sign a commitment here that I will not seek re-election,” the president said. “I am a man of my word, what I most value in my life is my honesty but I will anyway make this public pledge.”

Opposition deputies, with posters of Madero and his famous phrase, as well as banners saying “#Revocation is re-election” and other slogans, said they were unconvinced. 

“They proposed the revocation of [the president’s] mandate in Venezuela and that opened the door to Hugo Chávez’s ambition to perpetuate himself in power,” said Marcos Aguilar Vega, a deputy from the conservative National Action Party (PAN) during Thursday’s 10-hour debate, calling the recall vote a “mockery of Mexicans.”

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“The same thing happened with Evo Morales in Bolivia or with [Daniel] Ortega in Nicaragua. Today, from here, the PAN is warning of the risks,” he added.

Lopez Obrador’s opponents regularly say he will turn Mexico into another Venezuela, where the economy is in ruins.

The bill was easily passed by Lopez Obrador’s Morena party and its allies by a margin of more than two to one. It is expected to move next week to the Senate, where AMLO, as he is known, won’t be able to muster a required two-thirds majority for constitutional changes, making for a tougher ride.

The president initially promised a recall referendum every two years, but with his government launching an austerity drive, he later cut it to one vote after three years. 

“I am not a vulgar, ambitious person, I am here to serve, for six years if the people want, and at the end of 2024 I will end my mandate,” Lopez Obrador said.

Source: Financial Times

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