Mexican president voices remorse on progress, however says economic system fairer


MEXICO CITY (Information) – Mexico’s president conceded on Sunday that financial progress has fallen wanting his expectations, however mentioned that wealth is now extra pretty distributed as he celebrated a yr in workplace using excessive in opinion polls, in defiance of mounting issues.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, accompanied by his spouse, Beatriz Gutierrez Muller, attends the anniversary of his first yr in workplace on the Zocalo Sq. in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico, December 1, 2019. Information/Daniel Becerril

A yr in the past, veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador assumed the presidency pledging to boost financial progress to four% per yr. As a substitute, the economic system has stagnated and slipped into a gentle recession in the course of the first half of the yr.

“There nonetheless hasn’t been progress as we wish, however the distribution of wealth has improved,” Lopez Obrador advised a crowd of tens of 1000’s of supporters in central Mexico Metropolis’s Zocalo sq. on the primary anniversary of his inauguration.

“The finances doesn’t find yourself in a number of palms the best way it used to, it now reaches nearly all of the inhabitants,” he added.

Slowdowns within the first yr of a brand new authorities are usually not unusual in Mexico, which has needed to deal with the specter of financial disruption by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Lopez Obrador can be battling file ranges of violence, which has prompted extra friction with the Trump administration. However he stays well-liked, polls present.

Though some surveys present help for him has fallen, one printed by newspaper El Financiero this week confirmed his approval score was 68%, barely up on October.

Dealing with the media each weekday at 7 a.m., the 66-year-old has dominated the agenda for the previous yr, and his recognition stands in stark distinction with many counterparts in Latin America, the place political turmoil has been rising.

Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador have all been roiled by civil unrest in current weeks, whereas help for the federal government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took workplace a month after Lopez Obrador, has fallen away sharply.

Lopez Obrador has used his morning information conferences to maintain up a gentle barrage of fireplace in opposition to his political foes, who’ve struggled to mount a coherent opposition to him.

However, political analysts and adversaries say the president will come beneath rising stress if he can not get a grip on safety and energize the economic system quickly.

“The wallets of the individuals can be his undoing,” mentioned Ernesto Ruffo, an opposition congressman from the center-right Nationwide Motion Get together, or PAN.

Overseas funding to Mexico has held up, however home buyers have been rattled by selections made by Lopez Obrador, together with his abrupt cancellation of a $13 billion new Mexico Metropolis airport a number of weeks earlier than he took workplace.

Lopez Obrador mentioned the mission was unsound and tainted by corruption, arguing that so-called “neo-liberal” insurance policies have deepened inequality and fueled gang violence in Mexico.

He has put welfare applications on the heart of his financial coverage, slicing out intermediaries within the distribution course of that he mentioned have been siphoning off cash supposed for the poor.

Nonetheless, commerce and funding have been undermined by ongoing uncertainty over the way forward for North American commerce.

Latin America’s No. 2 economic system relies upon closely on entry to the U.S. market to gasoline progress, and the federal government is raring for American and Canadian lawmakers to approve a brand new commerce deal often known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA).

Mexico permitted the USMCA earlier this yr and Lopez Obrador has urged the U.S. Congress to comply with go well with.

Throughout his speech, the president mentioned that he was assured the commerce deal can be permitted very quickly.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Enhancing by Lisa Shumaker and Alistair Bell