Mexico City's mayor back on job after favorable court
Supporters cheer him as he arrives
By S. Lynne Walker
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
April 26, 2005
MEXICO CITY � Mexico City Mayor Andr�s Manuel L�pez
Obrador was back on the job yesterday after being
banished from his office for 18 days by a
congressional vote to impeach him.
Shortly before dawn, he arrived at City Hall to the
cheers and applause of supporters. A 3-year-old girl
handed him a floral bouquet and city workers patted
him on the shoulder.
They hung a sign near the door of the building.
"Welcome Andr�s Manuel L�pez Obrador," it said. "Mayor
of Mexico City."
A smiling L�pez Obrador said he felt "very strong"
despite the challenges of the past weeks and vowed to
resume the work of running the city.
As part of his plan to ease traffic jams in this city
of 8.5 million, he inaugurated a segment of a
double-decker highway yesterday. Scores of
photographers followed the mayor as he walked the
highway, shaking hands and giving supporters the
"It was a devastating photo op for his opponents,"
said analyst Federico Est�vez. "It shows that he's
back on the job after the impeachment, that he's more
powerful than they are."
L�pez Obrador was accused of violating a 2001 court
order to stop building a hospital access road on
private land. The dispute is minor, but the
congressional vote to strip him of his immunity and
his job as mayor could cost him his place on next
year's presidential ticket.
The federal attorney general's office filed
abuse-of-authority charges against him last week, only
to have them rejected by a judge who said prosecutors
made a technical mistake. Since L�pez Obrador no
longer faces criminal charges, he said there was
nothing to prevent him from returning to his office.
"The whole federal government used all its power
against L�pez Obrador and it failed," said political
analyst Lorenzo Meyer. "This time, L�pez Obrador had
more political muscle."
The mayor, who is often referred to as AMLO,
demonstrated his strength to the nation Sunday, when
nearly 1 million people took to the streets in a
silent march he had called for the day of the
congressional vote. Mexicans heeded his warning that
the country's democracy is being threatened by
politicians who want to remove him from the
presidential ticket simply because he is the
"A million-strong march? It doesn't look good for the
anti-AMLO crowd," Est�vez said. "His opponents have
helped him build his momentum. If he makes it onto the
ballot, he's won."
As his supporters gathered Sunday in Mexico City's
main plaza, L�pez Obrador outlined his campaign
platform, which focused on reducing the misery
quotient for millions of impoverished Mexicans.
He also offered a message to those who worry he is
following in the footsteps of Hugo Ch�vez, Venezuela's
leftist president and an ally of Cuban President Fidel
Castro. "There is no reason for anyone to be worried
or alarmed," L�pez Obrador said. "It will not be us
who damage Mexico, because we deeply love this country
and we are committed to rescuing it."