President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador met yesterday with his former presidential rival José Antonio Meade, fueling speculation that the latter could be offered a job in the incoming administration.
In a video posted to López Obrador’s social media accounts, the two former presidential candidates appear together after having breakfast at the president-elect’s home in southern Mexico City.
“He [Meade] is a good, decent, honorable person, that’s my point of view,” said the 64-year-old political veteran commonly known as AMLO.
“On July 1, José Antonio was the first person to speak to me to acknowledge that we had won and to wish us well because in that way the country will do well,” he said.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate’s prompt concession of defeat was seen by many analysts as breaking the mold of the party’s usual political conduct.
López Obrador won the election in a landslide with 53% of the vote, well ahead of Ricardo Anaya who had 22% support and Meade, who placed third with 16%.
The president-elect explained that the purpose of his invitation to Meade was reconciliation, declaring that bringing all Mexicans together was vital in order to carry out what he describes as Mexico’s “fourth transformation” following independence from Spain, the 19th-century liberal reform known as La Reforma and the Mexican Revolution.
“Mexicans have to unite, all of us. We have to make peace, we have to join together to take our beloved Mexico forward and to carry out the fourth transformation of the country’s public life,” he said.
In response, a bearded and jovial Meade thanked the president-elect for his invitation before the video closes with the pair sharing an amiable handshake that contrasted sharply with the more acrimonious relationship they shared during the campaign.
“I can reiterate what I said to you in that call, I wished you the best of luck knowing that in your success lies the success of the country. I’m sure you’ll do very well . . .” Meade said.
Neither López Obrador nor Meade offered further detail about their 90-minute meeting although the former said later in the day that there is “nothing to hide.”
However, lawmakers of varying political stripes said that Meade could add further economic expertise to Mexico’s next government if the incoming president chose to offer him a role.
The 49-year-old Yale-educated economist served as secretary of finance for just over a year in the current federal government after he held the positions of secretary of foreign affairs and secretary of social development earlier in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s six-year term.
He also served in former President Felipe Calderón’s cabinet as secretary of energy.
Jorge Luis Lavalle, a maverick senator who was recently expelled from the National Action Party (PAN), said that Meade would be a good fit for a role at Mexico’s central bank.
“He has a proven capacity in holding positions of considerable responsibility. I think that if they reach an agreement . . . it would be positive not just for the Bank [of México] but also for the country. I believe that it would generate very good prospects for the markets, it would generate confidence and certainty,” he said.
PRI Senator Enrique Burgos said Meade is still a young man but one with a lot of experience in carrying out key government tasks, adding that both he and López Obrador had shown a “democratic spirit” by meeting and putting past conflicts behind them.
Luis Humberto Fernández, Senator with the López Obrador-led Together We Will Make History coalition, said the meeting between the two former rivals was a sign that all Mexicans, regardless of their political persuasion, can work together for the good of the country.
He added that it is premature to assume that Meade will be offered a job but charged that the president-elect has the “important political talent” of being able to bring together “personalities of different political stripes and to make everyone walk in the same direction.”