Lopez Obrador: Mexico needs a revolution

The FT has scored a rare interview with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, catching the leftist presidential candidate in his tent in Mexico City’s main square, where he has been camped out with thousands of his supporters in protest of what they have called fraudulent elections for the country’s top office. Lopez Obrador freely admits that ...

607400_LObrador5.jpg
607400_LObrador5.jpg

The FT has scored a rare interview with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, catching the leftist presidential candidate in his tent in Mexico City's main square, where he has been camped out with thousands of his supporters in protest of what they have called fraudulent elections for the country's top office. Lopez Obrador freely admits that his civil resistance movement - in its third week - is losing popular support. But even after a partial recount of votes and an upcoming decision on the ultimate winner of the presidential contest, it's clear that Lopez Obrador has no intention of stepping aside. He told the FT:

If the tribunal ratifies the fraud the presidential election would be a flagrant violation in terms of all the constitutional principals. If the institutions, that is the presidency and the judicial system, do not act with respect for the Constitution and it is confirmed that the institutions are obsolete and that they have been kidnapped by a local interest group, well then the institutions do not work and it is necessary to reform them. That is what we are going to do.

If the fraud is ratified, I could not recognise the institutions, obviously I would not recognise Felipe Calderón because I would consider him to be a spurious, illegal and illegitimate president, and we would fight to make democracy count, renovate the institutions and undertake the changes this country needs.

The FT has scored a rare interview with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, catching the leftist presidential candidate in his tent in Mexico City’s main square, where he has been camped out with thousands of his supporters in protest of what they have called fraudulent elections for the country’s top office. Lopez Obrador freely admits that his civil resistance movement – in its third week – is losing popular support. But even after a partial recount of votes and an upcoming decision on the ultimate winner of the presidential contest, it’s clear that Lopez Obrador has no intention of stepping aside. He told the FT:

If the tribunal ratifies the fraud the presidential election would be a flagrant violation in terms of all the constitutional principals. If the institutions, that is the presidency and the judicial system, do not act with respect for the Constitution and it is confirmed that the institutions are obsolete and that they have been kidnapped by a local interest group, well then the institutions do not work and it is necessary to reform them. That is what we are going to do.

If the fraud is ratified, I could not recognise the institutions, obviously I would not recognise Felipe Calderón because I would consider him to be a spurious, illegal and illegitimate president, and we would fight to make democracy count, renovate the institutions and undertake the changes this country needs.

There’s also worry that the protests could get out of hand if the tribunal ratifies his rival’s electoral victory:

FT: Walking along Reforma in the past few days it has struck me that there are some very radical people – certainly not the majority – but people who are even talking about an armed struggle. Doesn’t that worry you?

LÓPEZ OBRADOR: This is a peaceful movement.

FT: But doesn’t it worry you that there are such radical people supporting you?

LÓPEZ OBRADOR: No, because the movement’s leadership has always said that this is a peaceful movement, not a violent one.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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