MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president is probably the most powerful political figure the country has had in decades, but he said Thursday he would retire completely from politics after his term ends in September 2024.
It had been speculated that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would remain a behind-the-scenes power in his now-dominant Morena party.
But the president vowed at his daily news briefing on Thursday that he would not associate with politicians, discuss politics or appear at political events.
López Obrador had previously said he would retire to a ranch he inherited in southern Mexico and write books. But Thursday’s statement was far more categorical than what he previously said.
“I’m going to retire completely,” he said. “I will never perform at a public event again.”
“I don’t want to be anyone’s advisor … I will not have any relationship with politicians,” the president said, adding, “I will not speak about politics.”
“I’ll write about politics, but this has more to do with academics,” he said.
Most Mexican presidents in recent decades have left office in such a discredited state that they have seldom had much clout on the political stage once their term is up.
But López Obrador still has approval ratings of about 60% after four years of his six-year tenure, based in part on his popular charisma and notoriety through daily press conferences that can last two or three hours.
In addition, his Morena party now holds 20 of Mexico’s 32 governorships. The party was organized almost entirely around his leadership.
There were fears that López Obrador could repeat the rule of ex-president Plutarco Elias Calles, who left office in 1928 but ruled by proxy until 1934.
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