Publication: Mexico’s Moment: The 2012 Presidential Transition

10/2015  by Robert Joyce – Innovation for Successful Societies, Princeton University

Mexico’s 2012 presidential transition tested the durability of the country’s democracy. Outgoing president Felipe Calderón ceded power to longtime political opponents. The new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, had to gather information on government programs, select a Cabinet and top aides, and set priorities—with no guarantee of significant cooperation from his predecessor’s administration. But to the surprise of some Mexicans, Calderón ordered his staff to cooperate by gathering and organizing information to brief their incoming counterparts. The process the two leaders put in place ensured an effective handover and helped pave the way for a landmark political deal early in Peña Nieto’s term. The 2012 transition, only the second between opposing parties in eight decades, followed steps other countries could find helpful for ensuring the continuity of core government functions during transfers of power.

Read more…

The pace in Mexico’s fight against corruption is slowing

Financial Times 9/21/2015

In his state of the nation speech in August, Mr Peña Nieto acknowledged that scandals over houses he, his wife and his finance minister had bought from favoured government contractors had caused “anger and indignation”.

Mr Peña Nieto, halfway through his six-year term, seems to be losing the battle for hearts and minds. A Pew Research Center study last month found only 27 per cent of respondents approved of his handling of corruption, a plunge of 15 points from a year ago.

In his speech, the president promised to work with Congress on secondary legislation to implement an integrated approach to fighting graft through a so-called anti-corruption system.

Read more…

Mexico’s Peña Nieto acknowledges ‘a difficult year’ and public anger

9/2/2015 LA Times

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Via Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday acknowledged that the nation has experienced a “difficult year” that has generated “anger” and damaged the public mood and trust.

The first half of his presidency has been characterized by a stagnant economy, corruption scandals and horrifying human rights abuses, as well as an agenda of constitutional reforms that have so far failed to deliver.

In his third state-of-the union address, Peña Nieto pledged to focus on strengthening Mexico’s rule of law and on reducing poverty and inequality during the three years remaining in his presidential term. He also said it was time for members of his administration to tighten their belts, promising austerity in public spending.

Read More…

Mexican President’s State-of-the-Nation Beset by Doubts

9/1/15 ABC News

12242280414_183b094546_zMexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent his written state-of-the-nation report to Congress on Tuesday in an atmosphere of rising violence, a falling currency and a slowing economy.

The unenviable circumstances are far different from what he faced during his last report on Sept. 2, 2014, just after he had won passage of a series of energy, education and telecom reforms, a success he said would put Mexico on the path to greater growth.

At the time, Pena Nieto was delivering on his main pledge, which was to reduce Mexico’s drug-war-era violence. But progress there seems to have stalled. Homicides in the first seven months of 2015 were running about 3 percent above figures for the same period last year.

Other numbers are depressing as well. The Mexican peso has fallen 29 percent against the U.S. dollar over the last year.

Pena Nieto’s own approval ratings have fallen as well, from 55 percent in August 2014 to about 35 percent one year later, according to a Buendia&Laredo poll published Tuesday. It had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Read more…

Peña Nieto reshuffles as support shrinks

8/31/2015 The Financial Times

12242280414_183b094546_zWhen Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto posted a picture of his socks on Twitter earlier this month, scorn and sarcasm rained down from social media.

The president’s light-hearted attempt to try to clear up that he had not, in fact, run a 10km race with his socks on the wrong way backfired: scores of tweets thanked him for enlightening the nation on the sockgate affair while issues like alleged human rights abuses, rising poverty and why his wife’s house had been paid for by a favoured government contractor remained unresolved.

It has been a marathon year that has seen the avid athlete stumble from crisis to crisis, seeming only to spot problems when they had already engulfed him.

Read more…

Declining Ratings for Mexico’s Peña Nieto

8/27/2015 Pew Research Center 

Dario Lopez-Mills - AP (2)
Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Three years after being elected president, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto is increasingly unpopular. Following a year plagued by scandal and controversy, his ratings have fallen, and Mexicans have grown disappointed with key elements of his ambitious agenda.

A new Pew Research Center survey of Mexico finds 44% of the public expressing a favorable view of Peña Nieto, down from 51% in 2014.

Moreover, his ratings on specific issues have dropped sharply. Last year, 55% approved of how Peña Nieto was handling education. Education reform is a cornerstone of his presidency that has met with intense opposition from the country’s powerful teachers unions. However, this year just 43% give him a favorable review on this issue.

Read more…

First, Trump booted Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of his news conference. Then things got interesting.

8/25/15 The Washington Post

Via Flickr user "Gage Skidmore"
Via Flickr user “Gage Skidmore”

Two minutes into Donald Trump’s news conference here Tuesday night came the question he tried to silence.

“Mr. Trump, I have a question,” said Jorge Ramos, the top news anchor at Univision and one of the country’s most recognizable Mexican-Americans, as he stood up in the front row of journalists.

“Excuse me,” the Republican presidential front-runner told Ramos. “Sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down.”

Ramos, holding a piece of paper, calmly tried to ask Trump about his plan to combat illegal immigration. “I’m a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen,” he said. “I have the right to ask a question.”

Trump interrupted him. “Go back to Univision,” he said. Then the billionaire businessman motioned to one of his bodyguards, who walked across the room and physically removed Ramos from the room.

Read more…