Mexico’s New Leader Opens Presidential Residence To Public

Handout photo released by Lopez Obrador’s press office of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C), his wife Beatriz Gutierrez Muller (R) and Vice-Chairwoman of the National People’s Congress of China Shen Yueyue, December 1, 2018, during AMLO’s inauguration.  daniel Aguilar / Lopez Obrador’s Press office / AFP

On Friday night, Mexico’s presidential residence was the scene of a gala reception for the king of Spain. 

Hours later, its doors were thrown open so tens of thousands of ordinary people could stare slack-jawed at its opulent rooms.

Welcome to the new Mexico of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexico’s new leader is an anti-establishment leftist who has made it his trademark to reject the trappings of power.

He has cut his own salary by 60 percent, put the presidential jet up for sale, eliminated the presidential security detail and forsaken the presidential residence, Los Pinos, opting to stay in his own modest home.

But he didn’t stop there.

Within hours of officially starting his six-year term at midnight on Saturday — even before taking the oath of office — Lopez Obrador, 65, had opened up the sprawling residence to the public.

In scenes reminiscent of the fall of Moamer Kadhafi in Libya, Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, huge crowds of ordinary Mexicans were suddenly meandering through the lavish rooms and leafy grounds of what had hours earlier been the country’s most heavily guarded seat of power.

The difference is that Lopez Obrador did not replace some reviled dictator in a bloody regime change: he won a democratic election to replace Enrique Pena Nieto.

But he is using Los Pinos to hammer home his message that Mexico — which had been governed by the same two parties for 89 years until his landslide victory — has been ruled by a “mafia of power” that lived like kings by stealing the nation’s resources and the hard-earned taxes of ordinary people.

‘Very ostentatious’ 

Judging by the reactions at Los Pinos — which received 85,000 visitors in the first two days — that public relations coup appears to be working.

“This is very ostentatious. I never imagined a place like this,” said Alejandra Barreto, 50, a shopkeeper from the central state of Puebla who was visiting Mexico City.

“The rooms are frankly enormous. Why would one family need all this?”

After waiting in long lines, visitors were able to stroll up a stone avenue lined with statues of the presidents who have lived at Los Pinos since 1935 and wander through the series of mansions that form the compound.

The first stop is the plush office suites used by the three most recent presidents.

Then visitors arrive at the second-story presidential bedroom, complete with a dressing room of some 30 square meters (325 square feet) and a palatial TV room.

On the first floor, there is a dining room with a 28-seat table, where Pena Nieto’s family ate daily.

In the basement, there is a private movie theater with 35 reclining leather armchairs.

‘Breaking paradigms’ 

Officially, the residence is now a cultural center.

But besides a scattering of musicians playing in the halls, there was not much culture on display the first day. The culture ministry, which now controls the complex, had no time to revamp it.

Instead, the objective appeared to be to show Mexicans just how large their leaders had been living while the rooms were still practically warm with their presence.

“This is a pharaonic situation. It’s completely unreal for any Mexican,” said Gilberto Gutierrez, 30, from the northern state of Aguascalientes and a local leader in Lopez Obrador’s party, Morena — now Mexico’s largest party, with majorities in both houses of Congress for its coalition.

With 56,000 square meters in all, Los Pinos is 14 times the size of the White House.

“It’s a place that marks the enormous distance between (Mexican leaders) and the rest of the population, and also the ostentatious way that the country’s politicians have lived,” said political analyst Hernan Gomez, who visited on the first day.

Ileana Ramirez, a 43-year-old domestic worker, agreed after sitting on the lawn at Los Pinos to watch a huge screen broadcasting Lopez Obrador’s inaugural address, in which the new president promised a “deep and radical transformation.”

“He is breaking the paradigms of everything we’ve lived our entire lives. For as long as I can remember, I’d never felt like power was in the hands of the people,” she said.

AFP

555 PVCs Of Dead Persons Found In Ogun State

ogunAt least 555 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) belonging to dead residents from the 21 Local Government Areas of Ogun State have been discovered by the electoral commission while giving out the cards to voters.

The dead residents were registered in 2011.

The discovery was made known on Monday by the Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Timothy Ibitoye.

Briefing reporters in his office at the Presidential Boulevard in Abeokuta, the state’s capital, Mr Ibitoye gave a breakdown of the number of PVCs distributed so far and the number of registered voters in the state.

While putting the records straight on the number of registered voters, the INEC commissioner said 1,795,794 voters registered in the state, as against 1,370,340, being quoted in some quarters.

Mr Ibitoye said the commission had distributed 860,076 PVCs, representing 63 per cent of the total registered PVCs while about 425,454 were still being expected from Abuja.

However, the Ogun INEC informed the residents of its readiness for the forthcoming election, saying that elections would be conducted in all the 3,210 polling units across the 236 wards of the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.

The Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, had earlier appealed to the INEC to speed up the distribution of the PVCs in the state.

The State government had organised a mobilisation and sensitisation forum, with the aim of educating the electorates on the forth coming general elections.

Ogun INEC Says It Is Ready For Elections

2011-ElectionsThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ogun State has expressed its readiness for the general elections that will begin on February 14, saying that proactive measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch free exercise.

The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Timothy Ibitoye, gave the assurance at a mobilisation and sensitisation forum organised by the commission at the June 12 cultural centre in Abeokuta, the state capital.

While addressing the gathering, the Governor the State, Mr Ibikunle amosun, appeal to the INEC to speed up the distribution of the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) which has become an issue, saying that about 35% of residents have so far been able to collect their cards.

The mobilisation and sensitisation forum on the 2015 elections brought together members of political parties, organised private sector, members of the European election observers, security chiefs in the state with the aim of educating the electorates on the forth coming general elections. The issue of the Permanent Voter Card seemed to have generated discourse at the occasion. Participants expressed concerns over the distribution and delay this sentiment was also shared by the governor of the state.

While expressing the readiness of the commission for the election, the Resident Electoral Commissioner said that elections would be conducted in all the 3,210 polling units across the 236 wards of the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.

The commissioner also said that the commission was seeking the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders in the state in its bid to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the state.

As part of efforts to ensure that electorates get their PVCs, the electoral body shifted the deadline for collection of the voters card to February 8, asking all registered voters to go to collection centres in their Local Government Area and pick up their cards.

It expressed optimism that over 80 per cent of the cards would be picked up before the elections begin.

There have been calls for the postponement of the elections since many electorates have not been able to collect their cards, but the electoral body said it had given enough time for the cards to be picked up.

Jakarta, most active Twitter City-Study

The most active tweeting city in the world has been known and this is according to a study conducted by France-based social media monitor Semiocast.

According to Semiocast, Indonesia had the two most active cities one making number one on the list which is Jakarta while Bandung a second Indonesian city came 6th on the same list. The study was made public on Monday on the website of the social media monitor, semiocast.com

On the survey details, for the month of June about 10.6 billion tweets were posted and more than 2% of those came in from Jakarta.

Jakarta was followed closely by Tokyo while London, Manchester, New York, Bandung, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago and Riyadh followed each other on the table.

It means with this ranking the mentioned cities according to standings show that users from these locations boost the activity of the social media network in their respective cities.

English remains the most used language on Twitter, followed by Japanese, Semiocast said, pointing out that the US is the most active Twitter country, with US-based users posting 25.8 per cent of all public tweets, followed by Japan-based users who posted 10.6 per cent.

Although, Jakarta came in fifth in terms of accounts creation on the social media network after the United States of America, Brazil, Japan and Britain while India, Mexico, Canada, Spain and the Philippines occupied 6th to 10th positions.

Indonesia boasted 29.4 million Twitter user profiles as at the end of June, lower than Britain’s 32.2 million Twitter user profiles, Semiocast said.

Semiocast said up to 517 million Twitter user profiles had been created before July 1, including more than 140 million in the US alone.