Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Mexico

AMLO Update: The Opposition Rediscovers Its Voice

Elected officials are beginning to push back on AMLO’s plans to revamp government.

Photo by Carlos Tischler/Getty Images

Subscribe here to receive the AMLO Update by email

Highlight of the Week

After the initial shock of AMLO’s landslide victory, the chastened opposition may be rediscovering its voice. This week, several current and incoming governors criticized his plan to replace a slew of federal representatives with a single state delegate. The plan raised fears that the concentration of federal authority could challenge sitting governors’ power. Most of the 32 delegates have strong ties to López Obrador or Morena, and seven are former gubernatorial candidates in the states they’ll now represent. 

The governors’ reaction was mostly subdued when AMLO first announced the measure in July. But a meeting between López Obrador and the delegates on Saturday put the issue back in the public eye. At least five governors have now signaled they would fight any attempt by the federal government to chip away at their authority. Other public officials have also criticized the plan.

Security

AMLO’s public debates on how to reduce crime have been chaotic, but his plans on security are coming into focus. Alfonso Durazo, his pick for secretary of public security, hopes to reduce homicides by 30-50 percent in three years by liberalizing drug policy, spending more money on social programs for young people and ultimately get the military off the streets. He also said that it’s “more important to follow drug traffickers’ money than the drug traffickers themselves.” Security analysts wonder whether Durazo’s goal is realistic – and whether the forums are more about public relations than policymaking. Either way, a change in philosophy is coming. 

Corruption

A congressional commission removed the last major political hurdle to creating a new attorney general’s office. Civil society groups, which had called for reforms to reinforce the independence of the new office, have been told their proposal won’t be taken up in the short-term.

Instead, President Enrique Peña Nieto will send a list of three finalists to the next Senate, which takes office in September (and will be dominated by Morena). In a meeting with López Obrador Aug.9, Peña reportedly agreed to respect the president-elect’s choice of three nominees for the role: Mexico City judge Eva Veronica de Gybes Zárate, academic Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá, and former Mexico City attorney general Bernardo Bátiz.

Quote of the Week

“We don’t have to think about this too much.”

AMLO tweeted that coming up with goals for his government’s sports and fitness program didn’t require much thought, but critics questioned his decision to include baseball as one of the administration’s three athletic priorities.

Russell is AQ’s correspondent in Mexico City

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Benjamin Russell is a guest editor and correspondent in Mexico City for AQ.
Like what you've read? Subscribe to AQ for more.
Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Sign up for our free newsletter