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López Obrador, Manuel Andrés (1953–)

López Obrador, Manuel Andrés (1953–)

Leading Mexican politician and presidential candidate Manuel Andrés López Obrador, born November 13, 1953, grew up in Tepetitán, Tabasco. He completed his elementary education locally, and continued his studies in the state capital, eventually graduating from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with a degree in political science. After graduating, he served as coordinator of the National Indigenous Institute (INI) in his home state until 1982. The following year he joined Enrique González Pedrero, a prominent political figure, and coordinated his successful campaign for governor of Tabasco, becoming state president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He joined the Democratic Current and abandoned the PRI in 1987, becoming a candidate in 1988 of the National Democratic Front for governor of Tabasco.

Six years later he again ran for governor as the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate, in a election characterized by widespread fraud. Continuing his opposition to the PRI, López Obrador emerged as a force within the PRD, taking over the party's leadership from 1996 to 1999. Using his political success, he ran victoriously for head of the Federal District, which he governed from 2001 to 2005, when he resigned to become his party's presidential candidate. His candidacy sparked controversy, but he held a strong lead throughout most of the campaign, promising a new emphasis on poverty and social justice. He lost to Felipe Calderón by less than .5 percent of the vote and contested the election, resulting in Mexico's Federal Electoral Tribunal (TRIFE) ruling on the outcome. López Obrador refused to accept the decision against him, and established his own parallel presidency, which he has used to criticize the incumbent administration.

See alsoMexico, Political Parties: Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD); Mexico, Political Parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).


Grayson, George W. Mesías mexicano: Biografía crítica de Andrés Manuel López Obrador. México, D. F.: Grijalbo, 2006.

Grayson, George W. Mexican Messiah: Andrés Manuel López Obrador. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007.

                                         Roderic Ai Camp

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