‘We’re not a colony’: Mexican president stands firm on not recognizing Biden win

MEXICO CITY, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday dug in his heels as one of the few leaders of major countries yet to congratulate Joe Biden on his presidential election win, saying it was too early and that his country was “not a colony.”

Lopez Obrador, who accused rivals of electoral fraud in his presidential defeats in 2006 and 2012, says he has no side in the U.S. election, and will wait until legal challenges launched by the Trump administration over the vote have played out.

“We can’t make any kind of recognition of a government that is not yet legally and legitimately constituted,” he told a news conference. “It’s not up to us, that’s interventionism.”

Lopez Obrador showed no such hesitation in congratulating the victors of Bolivia’s divisive 2019 presidential election, which was later annulled over irregularities. Critics charge his position on Biden does not look neutral.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to hurt Mexico economically if it does not curb illegal immigration, has refused to accept defeat and launched lawsuits to press claims of election fraud. State officials have said they are not aware of any significant irregularities.

Biden, a Democrat, cleared the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency on Saturday.

While in opposition, Lopez Obrador likened Trump to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and pledged to put him “in his place” if elected. Since taking office nearly two years ago, he has been at pains to avoid conflict with the American president.

His attitude on the vote has upset some Democrats but Lopez Obrador insisted there would be no repercussions for Mexico.

17 PHOTOSMexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez ObradorSee GalleryMexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez ObradorMexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C) poses for photographers with Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum (R) and Mexican Secretary of National Defence, Luis Cresencio Sandoval (L) during the inspection of the construction site of a new international airport which will be called ‘General Felipe Angeles’ at the Santa Lucia Air Force Base in Zumpango, near Mexico City, on October 16, 2020. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP) (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, right, and former presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas stand next to the mausoleum of Cuauhtemoc’s father, Mexico’s former President Lazaro Cardenas, during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of his death in Mexico City, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures after casting his ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Mexico City, Mexico July 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYMEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 5, 2020: Mexicos PresidentAndres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the daily morning news conferenceamid Covid-19 pandemic at National Palace on November 5 ,2020 in Mexico City, MexicoPHOTOGRAPH BY Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/ Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto and Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shake hands during a meeting at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico in this handout photograph released to Reuters by the Mexico Presidency, July 3, 2018. Mexico Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTYMexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador looks on during a news conference after a meeting with the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) in Mexico City, Mexico July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel BecerrilThe president of the Businessmen’s Coordinating Council, Juan Pablo Castanon (L) speaks with Mexico’s elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during a press conference after holding a private meeting in Mexico City, on July 4, 2018. (Photo by Ronaldo SCHEMIDT / AFP)(Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador addresses the media after a private meeting with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico July 3, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard GarridoMexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures after a news conference to announce Marcelo Ebrard as his pick for foreign minister, in Mexico City, Mexico July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos JassoMexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his daily, morning news conference at the presidential palace, Palacio Nacional, in Mexico City, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. López Obrador said Friday that his ambassador to the United States told him two weeks ago that there was an investigation underway there involving Mexico’s former defense secretary, retired Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos, who was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JULY 05: President-elect of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks to the media after a press conference to announce Marcelo Ebrard’s appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs at Salon D’Luz on July 5, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JULY 05: President-elect of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, leaves in his car after a press conference to announce Marcelo Ebrard’s appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs at Salon D’Luz on July 5, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City after holding a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto, on July 3, 2018 – Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador meets his outgoing predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, to begin preparing the transition he promises will bring ‘profound change’ to the country. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP)(Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waves to supporters during his closing campaign rally at the Azteca stadium, in Mexico City, Mexico June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYTPX IMAGES OF THE DAYPresidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures as he addresses supporters after polls closed in the presidential election, in Mexico City, Mexico July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYNewly elected Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C), running for ‘Juntos haremos historia’ party, cheers his supporters at the Zocalo Square after winning general elections, in Mexico City, on July 1, 2018. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP)(Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)Mexico’s presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, standing for the coalition ‘Juntos haremos historia’, takes a look at the crowd during the closing rally of his campaign at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City, on June 27, 2018, ahead of the upcoming July 1 presidential election. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP)(Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)Up Next

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“Because we’re adhering to our policy of principles,” he said. “Also, we’re not a colony. We’re a free, independent, sovereign country. The Mexican government is not a puppet of any foreign government.”

Left-leaning Lopez Obrador is part a shrinking group of world leaders yet to congratulate Biden, along with Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Nick Macfie Editing by Dave Graham and Nick Macfie)

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