Who is Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador?
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO or "El Peje," is a prominent Mexican politician and the former major of Mexico City. Although he has a notable political history behind him, he is better known for contesting the 2006 presidential election, which he claims he won by over 500,000 votes.
López Obrador was born on 13 November 1953 in the state of Tabasco, Mexico. Since his graduation from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), he has worked in political campaigns, headed the Instituto Indigenista, defending the rights of indigenous people, and worked at several government agencies. He eventually ran for governor, but lost to Roberto Madrazo in a controversial election that would pave the way for his political future. Just six years later, he was elected major of Mexico City, under the title of "Head of Government of the Federal District."
López Obrador was well-liked by the residents of Mexico City, mainly because he established several policies to help low-income citizens. This included a welfare-like system of financial aid to senior citizens and single mothers, the creation of a new free university, the establishment of an express bus service to cut through the city, and the complete restoration of the city’s historic downtown, which resulted in new investments and job opportunities.
His most controversial period started on 6 July 2006, when the official vote count for the presidential election was announced. Lopez Obrador was running for president against Felipe Calderón, who was announced as a winner with just 0.58 percentage points over López Obrador. López Obrador contested the results on the belief that president Fox had interfered in the election, thus influencing the results. After investigating, the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) decided that the election was valid and that Felipe Calderon was, in fact, the new president. Protests and marches were organized by supporters of López Obrador, but to no avail. The former governor himself headed several acts of civil disobedience, including the blocking of important shopping streets and the taking of tollbooths on several highways.
On 20 November 2006, López Obrador was declared the "Legitimate President" of Mexico by his followers. He then formed an opposition group, which he called a “shadow cabinet,” with the intention of fighting what he considers unjust government actions. The opposition campaign is strong and ongoing, and is expected to last throughout the whole presidency of Calderón. The media has been extremely supportive of the former president, based partly in the belief that his actions "will become the conscience of the nation.”
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