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The inauguration of the newly elected President of Mexico will take place on December 1st, 2018, and expectations are high. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, won the presidency by a little over 50% of the votes, beating his opponents by a certain majority. What can we expect during the toma de protesta, as this inaugural ceremony is called?
Andrés Manuel is originally from the southern state of Tabasco. After concluding his studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, he went back to his home state and joined the political party PRI or Partido Revolucionario Institucional. He was party leader and governor of Tabasco under this party. In the late 80s, when another politician Cuauhtémoc Cardenas created the new party PRD or Partido Revolución Democratica, he joined that party. In 2000, he was elected as jefe de gobierno or mayor of Mexico City. During this time, his party created several programs in Mexico City that benefited at-risk groups such as the elderly, single mothers and teenagers from poor neighborhoods.
In 2006, AMLO quit his position as jefe de gobierno to run for president. Mexico had been under one-party rule with PRI for over 70 years until the elections of 2000 when the right-wing party PAN or Partido Acción Nacional won. The 2006 elections were tense because Mexico was experiencing a true democracy for the second time. Andrés Manuel lost the 2006 elections due to what he called a fraud or fraude and staged a very long protest on one of Mexico City’s principal roads Paseo de la Reforma, and nicknamed himself the presidente legítimo or the legitimate president.
In 2012, AMLO ran again for president and lost again to the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who ran under the PRI. After six very scandalous years with Peña Nieto as president, Andrés Manuel will finally tomará protesta as the newly elected president of Mexico. You can read more about AMLO in this post Sasha shared.
The ceremony is called toma de protesta or toma de posesión. In this context, protesta means oath because the president takes the following oath:
Protesto guardar y hacer guardar la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos y las leyes que de ella emanen, y desempeñar leal y patrióticamente el cargo de Presidente de la República que el pueblo me ha conferido, mirando en todo por el bien y prosperidad de la Unión; y si así no lo hiciere que la Nación me lo demande
I promise to keep and make kept the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and the laws that emanate from it, and to perform loyally and patriotically the office of President of the Republic that the people have conferred on me, always looking after the good and prosperity of the Union; and if it is not so, the nation must demand this of me.
During the ceremony, Congress will gather for an assembly; the exiting president and incoming president will come in later on. The incoming president will first take the oath above, and then he will receive the presidential flag which is like a sash that the president wears. Afterward, the president gives a speech, usually about what plans he has for the next 6 years. Because there isn’t a very precise protocol, each president can choose what to do afterward. AMLO is expected to walk from the legislature to the Zócalo or main square where he will probably have one of his famous public meetings.
The video below is of the inauguration of Lázaro Cárdenas in 1934.
The past elections were quite controversial in Mexico with the typical trash talking and divisions that come with any elections. This has created a very difficult environment in the country with people who are for (nicknamed amlovers) and against (nicknamed fifis) AMLO causing trouble with those with opposing views. There are people who have planned parties to celebrate while others are planning protests.
Something Andrés Manuel has repeated throughout this campaigns is that he wants to have more input from the people in the form of referendum or consulta popular. The first one already took place in which the fate of the new airport for Mexico City was put on the ballot. Although construction was already underway, AMLO held the referendum and the people who voted rejected it. Some financial analysts argue that a consulta popular will reduce foreign investment in the country, while AMLO argues that people should be consulted on big projects like this one. Another consulta popular was held on November 24th and 25th for the proposed Tren Maya which will be a train line that will connect the southern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán. The results were in favor of the train.
The following video shows the elected president’s announcement of the consulta popular for the Tren Maya.
How is the presidential inauguration in Mexico different from that in your country? Does your country have referendums or something similar?