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It would be easy to assume that Mexico’s new president is going to tear down his country’s relationship with the United States. After all, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—who was elected Sunday with a stunning 53 percent of the vote—has called President Donald Trump “erratic and arrogant” and has even published a book titled “Listen up, Trump!” in which he rejects the U.S. president’s attacks on Mexico and his repeated calls for a border wall.

AMLO is an unapologetic leftist, and his Morena party, which he founded in 2013 and has built through sheer force of will, dominates the new Congress (although early numbers suggest his coalition may not quite get a majority in the Chamber of Deputies). The party also won five out of nine governorships that were put up for grabs in Sunday’s election. AMLO and his party therefore appear to have an almost obstacle-free path for a radical agenda of change.

And yet there is still a great deal of confusion and doubt about what this means for Mexico and for its relations with the U.S. What is likely is that AMLO will be much less radical than many fear, and that he will pursue stability in place of revolution. For foreign relations, he has already indicated that he is willing to work with Trump and recognizes the importance of NAFTA to Mexican prosperity.

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About the Author

Duncan Wood

Duncan Wood

Director, Mexico Institute
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more