Can the Church work with Mexico’s radical new president?

The election of the left-wing populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador as Mexico’s president provoked

widespread jubilation. Those celebrating in Mexico City cried tears of joy and brandished López Obrador merchandise: flags bearing his image, dolls stitched in his likeness. One supporter said: “I’ve been waiting for this for 12 years. Now, things will change.”

At the bishops’ conference headquarters, the reaction was more muted. In a statement the bishops said they would “collaborate in a positive way” with the new president, but added: “No ruler on their own has all the ideas and all the solutions.”

Amlo, as he is known, has promised “profound change”. His priorities are to crack down on corruption, somehow reduce Mexico’s spiralling violence and address endemic poverty, with more support for such groups as pensioners and farmers.

Although much is uncertain, Amlo is potentially an ally for the Church. He is a moderate on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, once telling a radio interviewer that they were “not that important” compared with the endemic problem of corruption.

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