Five Take-Aways from the Mexican Election

July 2, 2012

Andrew Selee, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 7/2/2012

1.- The PRI won decisively but did not get the mandate it wanted.

2.- The PRD lost the presidency but showed that the Left has mobilizing power.

3.- The PAN couldn’t overcome its internal divisions and doubts about its performance.

4.- All the political leaders rose to the occasion in unexpected and highly positive ways.

5.- Mexico will continue to be a competitive democracy with significant checks and balances.

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How will PRI’s win change the U.S.-Mexico relationship? [Op-Ed]

July 2, 2012

CNN, 07/02/2012

Andrew Selee

Mexico’s elections have brought back the PRI, an authoritarian party that ruled Mexico for seven decades. This possibility had worried many observers and politicians in the United States, and yet, surprisingly, it will make little difference for the U.S.-Mexico relationship. This is largely a tribute to how deeply interdependent the two countries are today, as well as the ways in which Mexican society has evolved over the past two decades.

The PRI has been known in the past for its anti-American rhetoric and distrust of the United States. However, circumstances over the past 20 years have completely changed the relationship between the two countries.

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Weary Voters Turn to Party of Mexico’s Past, Polls Say

July 2, 2012

The New York Times, 07/02/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

The party that ruled Mexico for decades with an autocratic grip appears to have vaulted back into power after 12 years in opposition, as voters troubled by a bloody drug war and economic malaise gave its presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, a comfortable victory on Sunday, according to exit polls and early returns.

If the victory is confirmed by more complete official results to be announced early Monday morning, it would be a stunning reversal of fortune for the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party.

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A new anti-drug strategy in Mexico?

June 27, 2012

Baker Institute Blog, Nathan Jones

What would it mean in practice to emphasize violence reduction in lieu of a counter-narcotics policy?…

First, the Mexican government could form pacts with organized crime to reduce violence in exchange for tacitly accepting drug trafficking. This was effective in Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s when the authoritarian PRI party and its Direccion Federal de Seguridad (equivalent to the FBI) managed and protected traffickers in exchange for bribes and low levels of violence…

Second, the Mexican government could target the most violent trafficking groups, as Eric Olson of the Woodrow Wilson Center has argued in a recent report. By targeting groups like Los Zetas that have expanded their criminal activities into kidnapping and extortion, the government could punish these groups in the hopes that cartels in Mexico would compete to be perceived as the least violent and thereby avoid federal attack…

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Analysis: Mexican ruling party faces defeat but may back reforms

June 26, 2012

Reuters, 06/26/2012

President Calderon

Mexico’s ruling party faces heavy defeat at a presidential election on Sunday and already is preparing for life in the opposition, where it could help pass economic reforms that it was unable to push through in power.

Calderon took office in 2006 with his own ambitious plans to lure private investment to state oil giant Pemex, reform restrictive labor laws and restructure the tax system in order to strengthen the economy and tackle poverty.

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Mexican presidential front-runner draws tens of thousands of supporters and protesters

June 25, 2012

The Washington Post/Associated Press, 06/24/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

“I am part of a new generation that grew up under democracy,” Peña Nieto told tens of thousands of cheering supporters at the Azteca soccer stadium on the city’s southern edge.

Sunday also saw thousands of anti-Peña Nieto protesters gathered in the heart of Mexico City to demonstrate against what they claimed would be a return to the past under the candidate, who leads all major polls in the race.

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Mexico ready to vote, watchful for fraud

June 22, 2012

The Washington Post, 6/22/2012

Today, electoral regulators preside over an elaborate system of safeguards that have made stealing the presidency at the ballot box impossible, political analysts say. But they warn that the country’s July 1 election remains vulnerable to subtler forms of tampering and the shadowy influences of organized crime, along with some new twists on the old dirty tricks.

Electoral fraud in Mexico “is a thing of the past,” said Leonardo Valdes, Mexico’s top election official, in an interview.

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Mexico election: Pena Nieto bids to shake off PRI’s past

June 20, 2012

BBC News, 6/20/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

The PRI’s opponents say the party has not shaken off its authoritarian and corrupt past and has links to the drug cartels.

“I can say categorically that in my government, there won’t be any form of pact or agreement with organised crime,” he told the BBC.

Read more…


Mexican students won’t protest if frontrunner wins vote fairly

June 20, 2012

Reuters, 6/19/2012

A student movement that has helped rally opposition to Mexico’s presidential frontrunner will not stage more mass protests against him if he wins the July 1 election fairly, leaders of the group said.

But Rueda said more protests would follow if there was evidence of fraud. Other members of the group agreed.

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A Requiem for Calderón [Op-Ed]

June 19, 2012

Alina Rocha Menocal, Foreign Policy, 6/18/2012

President Calderon

The outgoing President has presided over a lost sexenio, and he will leave Mexico in worse shape than when he took office. Perhaps more fundamentally, this election epitomizes the formidable challenges that Mexico continues to confront twelve years after its transition to democracy.

According to Consulta Mitofsky, only 30 percent of the Mexican voting public believes the country is headed in the right direction.

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