Mexico City Leftist politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador may not be the next president of Mexico, but his campaign theme of putting the poor first still has legs.
President-elect Felipe Calderon, in his first speech after an electoral tribunal declared him winner of the July 2 election, promised to put poverty at the top of his political and legislative agenda.
"If something demands urgent action and all the power of the Mexican state, it is taking care of millions of families who still live in poverty," Calderon said late Tuesday. He repeated his new theme in appearances Wednesday and said it was first among his presidential goals, ahead of creating jobs and fighting crime.
Embracing Lopez Obrador's rhetoric on putting the poor first was a significant shift for Calderon, whose campaign hailed investment as the engine for jobs and economic growth. He praised Mexico's free-market path and promised to combat the crime and corruption that scare off investors. He criticized Lopez Obrador's platform of public-works projects and subsidies, saying Mexicans wanted jobs, not handouts.