Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will be a different sort of president for Mexico, breaking the mold of past administrations.
— He’s a baseball lover — and player — in a soccer-mad nation. He’s so identified with the game that the national newspaper Reforma headlined its story about his victory: “Home run!” He’s sometimes described himself as a St. Louis Cardinals fan, but also has donned a Los Angeles Dodgers jersey at times.
— He grew to fame as a leader of raucous and disruptive leftist protests while past presidents nearly always had spent their lives on the other side of the barricades. Over the decades, Lopez Obrador has blocked roads, oil wells and led protest encampments that froze Mexico City’s main boulevard for weeks to protest alleged fraud he said cost him the 2006 election. Former conservative President Vicente Fox briefly led protests against state election fraud in 1991, but with nothing like Lopez Obrador’s persistence.
— He’s not a lawyer, military officer, businessman or a former cabinet secretary, unlike almost every president of the past century. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and has spent his career in political activism.
— He’s the first self-described leftist president in decades, perhaps since Luis Echeverria in the 1970s. He also favors guayaberas, the tropical shirt popularized by Echeverria.
— He plans to tour the country, campaign-style, in September and November, ahead of his inauguration. Previous presidents have barnstormed while on campaign, not after. And he’s doing it without secret service protection. In fact, he plans to dissolve the presidential guard service that has protected leaders since 1926.
— He appears to be the most religious president since Fox, a devout Catholic, though Lopez Obrador refuses to say which denomination he belongs to. His speeches are peppered with Biblical references and calls for moral renovation. Until Fox, presidents rigidly avoided religiosity and were often hostile to it — an outgrowth of anti-clerical reforms of the 19th century.
— He says he will be the first president since the 1930s not live in the official residence tucked into Chapultepec Park. He says he plans to stay in his modest house on Mexico City’s south side as president while maintaining offices at the centuries-old National Palace in the heart of the city.
— He is the first president in about a century to speak in a marked regional accent and only the third president in two centuries from Mexico’s tropical lowlands.
— He is the first president since the 1910 revolution to win an election at the head of a political party he created.
— With nearly 54 percent of the vote, he had the highest margin of victory since 1982 — and the highest in an election generally considered democratic since the early 20th century.
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