The politician labelled “Mexico’s Donald Trump” is expected to be elected the country’s president this weekend – and head straight onto a collision course with its unpredictable neighbour to the north.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a populist who has run as the outsider candidate fighting the “mafia of power” on behalf of the working class.
Although politically vastly different to Mr Trump, the popular support is similar.
The 65-year-old former mayor of Mexico City has generated an almost religious fervour among Mexicans fed up with spiralling crime, corruption and a stilted economy.
But they also want their new leader to confront a US president who has spent two years demonising them.
In one of Mexico City’s more troubled neighbourhoods, voters become most animated when discussing Mr Trump.
Karla Vasquez said: “Donald Trump is garbage. There is no other way to describe him.
“Of course we want our leader to stand up to him because that is why he is our president, so he can defend us, from him or anyone else.”
Mr Lopez Obrador is a friend of Jeremy Corbyn and has been dubbed the Labour leader’s “ideological twin”.
The pair were photographed together in Mexico two years ago.
Mr Corbyn and his Mexican wife Laura spent part of their Christmas holiday with Mr Lopez Obrador and his wife Beatriz in the country in 2016.
Mr Lopez Obrador, known as his initials AMLO, has been measured in his criticism of Mr Trump but faces disagreements with Washington on immigration and trade.
He has also vowed to tackle the epidemic of violent crime that blights his country.
Mexico has seen a dramatic increase in violence. The murder rate has tripled in four years. Last year was the highest in modern history and this year is expected to top that.
Griselda Tristiana’s journalist husband Javier was murdered last year by members of a drug cartel angry at his reporting.
She says she is not so naive to think a new president can end the violence, but hopes for some progress.
“The last thing they can take away from us is our hope that things can change at least a little bit and bring down violence, impunity, corruption and that is hurting many families in this country,” she said.
“I believe it is important to think that something, not all, but something, can change for good.”
Trust in politicians in Mexico has plummeted during the administration of current president Enrique Pena Nieto
With half of eligible Mexican voters aged under 39, it is young voters who are signalling the mood for change.
Student Lisette Mariana Perez said: “He represents the people. He’s from the people. We don’t see him like he is above us. We feel that he is with us.”
Walter Arellano added: “We are talking about the dignity of the Mexican people. We need a very strong president to confront Donald Trump.”
The election is a huge talking point in the Mexican capital but is still probably eclipsed by Monday’s World Cup clash with Brazil.
In the market at Fray Servando, national team shirts, scarves and green and red sombreros are flying off the stalls.
Rubber masks of AMLO are selling out too. There are plenty of Trump ones still available.
If the US president has had an issue with Mexico until now, things might be about to get a lot more difficult.
From – SkyNews