The president’s “hugs no bullets” security strategy and casual approach to COVID has prompted strong criticism from all sectors of society.
MEXICO CITY – “Women and children to the centre,” a woman shouts repeatedly, reacting to another rumor that supporters of Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were planning to attack the anti-government protest camp in Mexico City’s main Zócalo square. No attack ever came.
Supporters of López Obrador, also known as AMLO, arrived later in well-managed waves, separated by riot police and metal barriers from the recently-installed camp of the National Front Against AMLO, or FRENA, which sits in front of the presidential palace.
The camp is the most visible of a number of recent developments that seek to challenge AMLO, one of Mexico’s most popular presidents.
AMLO maintains significant popularity, seeing a slight rise to 62 percent in September, though significantly below the 77 percent popularity he saw when he was elected in December 2018 with over 53 percent of the vote.
His party, Movement for National Regeneration or Morena, won in every single state of the republic, bar one. Ricardo Anaya, his rival from the conservative National Action Party (PAN), gained only 23 percent of the vote in the same election.
Two days after FRENA set up camp in the Zócalo on 19th September, Anaya announced his return to political life, calling AMLO’s government “disastrous”. Former PAN president Felipe Calderón is also trying to register a new political party, México Libre, or Free Mexico, which Mexico’s electoral commission rejected in early September due to suspicions over funding.
Another public challenge to AMLO’s presidency came on in mid-October, with the creation by the president of a prominent business umbrella group called COPARMEX of a “new movement” called Sí por México, or “Yes for Mexico”.