Mexico’s president is probably the most powerful political figure the country has had in decades, but on Thursday, February 2, he said that after his term ends in September 2024, he will totally withdraw from politics.
There had been speculation that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would remain a power behind the scenes in his now-dominant Morena party.
But the president vowed at his daily press briefing Thursday that he would not mix with politicians, speak about 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 declaration was far more categorical than what he has said before.
“I am going to retire completely,” he said. “I will never again appear at any public event.”
“I do not want to be anybody’s advisor … I will not have any relationship with politicians,” the president said, adding “I am not going to talk about politics.”
“I am going to write, which does have to do with politics, but that has more to with academics,” he said.
Most Mexican presidents in recent decades have left office so discredited that they seldom carried much weight on the political scene after their terms ended.
But López Obrador still has approval ratings of about 60% four years into his six-year term, based in part on his folksy charisma and exposure through daily press briefings that can last two or three hours.
Moreover, his Morena party now holds 20 of Mexico’s 32 governorships. The party was organized almost exclusively around his leadership.
There had been fears that López Obrador might replicate the rule of ex-president Plutarco Elias Calles, who left office in 1928 but continued to rule through surrogates until 1934.