MEXICO CITY  | Leftist leader takes reins in Mexico vowing to help poor

MEXICO CITY  | Leftist leader takes reins in Mexico vowing to help poor

MEXICO CITY  — Leftist politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador assumed Mexico’s presidency with a promise — to profoundly transform Latin America’s second-biggest economy and to lead a government free of corruption.

Seemingly tireless at age 65, Lopez Obrador breezed through a day of public appearances Saturday that included taking the oath of office and speaking to Congress and attending an inaugural celebration at Mexico City’s vast main square.

He received a spiritual cleansing by indigenous leaders as part of the festivities, then closed out the gathering with a folksy 90-minute speech to the thousands of jubilant fans jamming the Zocalo vowing to help the poor in a nation where almost half the population lives in poverty.

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