Mexico elected leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a landslide victory on Sunday, according to exit polls showing the former mayor with double-digit leads over his competitors.
López Obrador, 64, mounted his third bid for the presidency with promises to rein in widespread corruption and fight poverty within the country. A former mayor of Mexico City, he will replace current President Enrique Peña Nieto and has promised to upend traditional party politics.
He would be the first leftist president in decades, according to Reuters.
López Obrador’s two main opponents, Jose Antonio Meade, the ruling party candidate, and center-right candidate Ricardo Anaya conceded the election late Sunday.
“For the good of Mexico, I wish him the very best of success,” Meade said in his concession speech.
López Obrador, also known as AMLO, has won mass appeal among the populace with sweeping promises to sell the presidential plane, cut his salary if elected and bolster the wages of the civil servants. He’s also pledged to save some $20 billion a year by combatting corruption, money that would be diverted to social programs, although it’s unclear where that figure comes from, according to The New York Times.
His victory represents a resounding defeat for Peña Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which has lost popularity in recent years amid turmoil with President Donald Trump. All of the candidates had lambasted the American leader, but López Obrador has stressed the need to work with the United States, saying that the countries would “have to come to an agreement.”
“We are going to maintain a good relationship,” López Obrador told the Times last month. “Or rather, we will aim to have a good bilateral relationship because it is indispensable.”
Trump congratulated López Obrador on Twitter on Sunday evening, saying he looked “very much forward to working with him.”
His critics, however, have warned that López Obrador could escalate a trade war with the U.S., according to The Washington Post. Others are concerned that some hazy campaign pledges will be difficult to carry out.
“I am concerned that some candidates are making proposals that are impossible, because they’re very expensive,” one voter told The Associated Press before the election.
Sunday’s elections were the largest ever in Mexico with more than 3,200 elected positions up for grabs, including 628 members of the National Congress. Voters also cast ballots for some 1,500 mayoral posts around the country.
The electoral season has been one of the most violent in recent history as criminal groups have moved to assassinate more than 130 candidates and political operatives since last fall, the Times reports. Some parties have struggled to find people willing to run in local elections, and hundreds of candidates had withdrawn their names in fear.
An official “quick count” of the election results is expected around midnight on Monday morning, according to Reuters.