Politics

Rivals concede as exit polls show leftist Lopez Obrador winning Mexico's presidential election 

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Key Points
  • Exit polls in Mexico showed leftist Lopez Obrador is way ahead his two main rivals in the country's presidential election.
  • Ruling party candidate Jose Antonio Meade conceded he had lost the presidential race. 

Mexican ruling party candidate Jose Antonio Meade conceded he had lost the presidential election on Sunday, saying his rival, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, bore the responsibility of the next government and wishing him well.

Opposition candidate Ricardo Anaya also conceded defeat and said he called Lopez Obrador to congratulate him.

Exit polls showed Mexicans voted overwhelmingly for anti-establishment outsider Lopez Obrador in Sunday's presidential election, betting a leftward turn in government could end the corruption and violence that has blighted the country.

Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at the final event of the 2018 Presidential Campaign at Azteca Stadium on June 27, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. 
Getty Images

One exit poll by polling firm Parametria showed Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, winning between 53 percent and 59 percent of the vote, far ahead of his two main rivals from Mexico's traditional ruling parties.

Consulta Mitofsky for broadcaster Televisa showed the leftist, who had maintained a healthy lead in polls ahead of the vote, winning between 43 percent and 49 percent of the vote. Parametria, Mitofsky and others showed him winning by at least 20 percentage points.

An official "quick count" of results is expected at midnight EDT (0400 GMT), with a margin of error of 0.5 percent.

Lopez Obrador, 64, is expected to move Mexico in a more nationalist direction if he wins and could exacerbate simmering tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump and unsettle some investors.

He would be the first leftist president in decades in Mexico, and has pledged to reduce the country's economic dependence on the United States. The current government has sparred with Trump over trade and migration for months.

Trump took to Twitter to congratulate Lopez Obrador.

Donald Trump tweet:  Congratulations to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on becoming the next President of Mexico. I look very much forward to working with him. There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!

If confirmed, the results would represent a resounding defeat for outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto's ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI has ruled Mexico for all but 12 of the last 89 years.

The runner-up in the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections, Lopez Obrador pitched himself as the only one capable of cleaning up the government after years of poor economic growth and rampant gang violence eroded faith in the political class.

Seeking support from economic nationalists, leftist liberals and social conservatives, Lopez Obrador has been vague on policy details. But he vows to reduce inequality, improve pay and welfare spending and run a tight budget.