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Mexico president vows to tackle violence amid homicide surge

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says putting an end to corruption and curbing violence remain top priorities nearly a year into his mandate.

Reducing violence is the country's "main challenge," the president said as he laid out key achievements, such as budget savings, and still unsatisfied goals during his first annual state of the union address on Sunday.

Mexico set a new record for homicides in the first half of the year, 17,608 killings, fueled partly by cartel and gang violence in several states.

López Obrador has dubbed his six-year tenure the Fourth Transformation, saying it represents a change akin to Mexico's independence from Spain. He took office in December after a landslide July 2018 election win.

Mexican presidents are limited to a single term in office.

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