Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador assumed the Mexican presidency on December 1, 2018, succeeding the unpopular Enrique Pena Nieto. Photo: AFP
Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed a "deep and radical" change in Mexico as he assumed the country's presidency Saturday, five months after winning a landslide election victory.
The leader, widely known by his initials as "AMLO," took the oath of office and donned the presidential sash before Congress -- where the coalition led by the upstart party he founded four years ago, Morena, now has strong majorities in both houses.
Ending 89 years of government by the same two parties, Lopez Obrador surged to victory in the July 1 elections promising a new approach to issues fueling widespread outrage: crime, poverty and corruption.
But not everyone is persuaded: critics say the sharp-tongued, silver-haired leader has a radical and authoritarian streak. And despite his promises of business-friendly policies, Mexican stocks and the peso have plunged in recent weeks.
That did not stop Lopez Obrador, 65, from doubling down on his promise of a sweeping "transformation" as he started his six-year term.
"It might seem pretentious or exaggerated to say it, but today is not just the start of a new government. It is the start of a political regime change," he said, the presidential sash newly draped over his dark suit and burgundy tie.