MEXICO CITY (AP) — Furious at spiraling corruption and violence, Mexican voters unleashed a political earthquake Sunday by electing a leftist firebrand as president and giving him a broad mandate to overthrow the political establishment and govern for the poor.
A late-night official quick count from electoral authorities forecast that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador would win with between 53 percent and 53.8 percent of the vote, a remarkable margin not seen in the country for many years. A prominent exit poll predicted that his party allies were poised to score huge wins in the Senate and lower house, possibly absolute majorities in both.
Lopez Obrador, who campaigned on vows to transform Mexico and oust the “mafia of power” ruling the country, rode widespread voter anger and discontent with the governing Institutional Revolution Party, or PRI, of President Enrique Pena Nieto and had led opinion polls since the beginning of the campaign.
The PRI, which dominated Mexican politics for nearly the entire 20th century and recaptured the presidency in 2012, was set to suffer heavy losses not just for the presidency but in down-ballot races as well.