MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Mexican president on Saturday, promising a radical change of course in a country struggling with gang violence, chronic poverty and corruption on the doorstep of the United States.
The first leftist to take office in Mexico in a generation moved to reassure business after markets crashed last month on worries about his policies. He promised investments would be safe and that he would respect central bank independence.
Following are some reactions to his inaugural speech:
“There were no great surprises in the speech. It reiterates criticism of the neo-liberal model with the example of the energy reform, and puts forward increasing the number of refineries. Lots of problems were raised but not much time was left to get into solutions.”
“The market reacted positively to Lopez Obrador’s election because it put an end to the uncertainty. Capital is apolitical and drawn to stability. The statements, perhaps premature, on banking commissions and cancelling the airport fed uncertainty that led to the currency depreciating and the stock market falling. Lessons seem to have been learned about these kinds of pronouncements, and in future we expect there to be more moderation, while still pushing things that benefit Mexicans.”
DUNCAN WOOD, DIRECTOR OF THE WILSON CENTER’S MEXICO INSTITUTE
“There were few signs in AMLO’s speech that the full reality of governing has sunk in thus far. Markets will be deeply concerned about the future of the energy sector and the overly ambitious infrastructure plans without any way of paying for them.”
“In general, the inauguration speech did not have any surprises, since it confirmed the ideas and promises of the campaign. While it endorsed the commitment to economic discipline, respect for independent institutions, and calls on the private sector to invest, it also leaves the door open to actions that lead to a setback as in the case of some reforms (education and energy).”
“There is an inconsistency in promising to ‘make Mexico an economic power’ but at the same time, reject liberal and free market economic policies, which are essential for gaining the confidence of the private sector.”
Slim said Lopez Obrador’s inaugural address inspired “certainty and an invitation to work and invest. What is needed, as (Lopez Obrador) said, is job creation, fighting poverty. The best investment is to fight poverty, incorporate marginalized people into modernity with education and employment.”
GUILLERMO ROMERO, FORMER ECONOMY MINISTER OF THE OPPOSITION-CONTROLLED CENTRAL MEXICAN STATE OF GUANAJUATO, ON TWITTER
“The message of president AMLO was full of economic fallacies, without its historical context. Worrying.”
Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Matthew Lewis