Mexico's President Calls It a Farewell Tour. His Critics See a Power Move.

By José de Córdoba

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is "passing the baton while still grabbing on to it," says AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to The Wall Street Journal

Across the country this summer, outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is holding what he calls a farewell tour—festive weekend rallies where his most fervent supporters buy souvenir dolls in his likeness, wave placards and chant his name.

López Obrador’s knack for whipping up support, and his relish for basking in it, has investors and opponents worried he isn’t simply passing the baton to his successor and protégée, President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, but will instead run the country from behind the scenes.

In early June, Sheinbaum won the presidency with almost 60% of the vote. López Obrador’s ruling Morena party coalition garnered enough seats in the lower house of Congress to make constitutional changes without opposition backing, and is two seats short of the needed two-thirds majority in the Senate. He appears to be setting Sheinbaum’s initial agenda as he prepares to use his party’s majority to overhaul the Constitution before stepping down in October, political analysts say.

This time “he’s passing the baton while still grabbing on to it,” said Eric Farnsworth, who heads the Washington office of the Council of the Americas, a think tank.

Sheinbaum recently played down the idea that López Obrador would direct her from the jungle after she takes office. “Our adversaries say that López Obrador is going to have a red telephone to give me instructions every day,” she said at a news conference, adding that she could seek his advice if something terrible were to happen in the country...

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