Mexico in 2018

01/9/2018 The Expert Take

expert I (2)By Luis Rubio

The presidential election of 2018 will be the first to be held in Mexico without an international anchor that guarantees the continuity of economic policy since the era of competitive, democratic elections was inaugurated back in the 90s. That anchor has proven to be key to attracting investment and conferring certainty to the population as well as to investors and hence, to the gradual evolution of the country. This does not necessarily mean that there will be radical changes in the government’s strategy. However, for the first time since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, the decision of how to conduct the country’s destiny will no longer be constrained by international commitments and, thus, whoever wins the upcoming election will have unbound power in this regard. The whole political point of NAFTA -an established framework to work under any electoral scenario- will no longer be there. Mexico is living a completely new political reality.

The rhetorical attacks on trade matters and, particularly, NAFTA that President Trump launched since his campaign in 2016 and his insistence on the possibility of cancelling it, has had a decisive impact on Mexican politics. By eliminating the “untouchable” character of the deal within Mexico, the certainty that emanated from it has also evaporated. Even if NAFTA were to continue (in my opinion, the most likely scenario), the damage already inflicted is enormous- as the high domestic political costs that a withdrawal at Mexico’s behest would have entailed no longer exist.

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Mexico presidential hopeful hemmed in by ruling party legacy

12/27/2017 Reuters

 REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mired in allegations of corruption, Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has thrown its weight behind an untainted outsider in a bid to clean up its image and hang on to the presidency in elections next July.

But having never been a member of the party, former finance minister and PRI presidential hopeful Jose Antonio Meade faces a delicate balancing act persuading undecided voters he will cut out graft without alienating the grassroots support he needs to win.

It is proving to be a tough job.

The awkward symbiosis limits Meade’s ability to play to the strengths that PRI grandees hope will overcome the accusations of embezzlement, fraud and vote buying that have plagued the party under President Enrique Pena Nieto

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Mexico Opposition Leader Resigns for 2018 Presidential Bid

12/09/2017 Bloomberg

Photographer: Agustin Salinas/GDA via AP Photo

The leader of Mexico’s largest opposition group is stepping down from his post to prepare for a presidential run under a left-right coalition that’s looking to dislodge the ruling party from power.

Ricardo Anaya’s resignation as party president, effective this weekend, is the first step to seeking the nomination from his National Action Party (PAN) to run in 2018 against the party of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

His decision was confirmed by Santiago Creel, president of PAN’s national election commission, and Juan Adame, regional coordinator of PAN’s national executive committee. Anaya said in a Twitter message that he’s stepping down and will inform the public on Sunday of his plans.

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Mexico presidency hopeful eyes tax cuts to counter Trump reform

12/6/2017 Reuters

6732357797_64d2ba3cdc_mMONTERREY (Reuters) – A Mexican presidential hopeful and governor of a wealthy border state said he would cut taxes to compete with lower rates in the United States if President Donald Trump’s fiscal reform passes Congress, hinting at a broader potential response in Mexico.

“We’re going to compete,” he told Reuters on Monday. “If I make it and am able to be president, I would lower taxes,” he added, though he declined to give details.

Mexico’s government has been watching Trump’s fiscal plans closely, and some senior officials and lawmakers say the country may have to cut taxes if the United States does.

Mexico education minister resigns to head up PRI presidential campaign

12/6/2017 The Financial Times 

Mexico CityMexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto accepted the resignation of Aurelio Nuño as education minister on Wednesday, as one of his closest advisers was expected to move to the role of campaign manager for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) presidential candidate for elections next year. Mr Nuño was the president’s chief of staff before moving to the education ministry to drive forward one of the toughest of the structural reforms implemented by Mr Peña Nieto. He will be replaced by Otto Granados Roldán, who had been a junior minister for planning at the education ministry, according to local media reports. Last week, finance minister José Antonio Meade resigned to seek the presidency of the PRI. He is considered a safe pair of hands and a lure for voters worried about the prospect of victory by hard-left candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has held an early lead in polls. The PRI also hopes that Mr Meade, who was a minister in the former conservative National Action Party (PAN) government, will reel in support from the opposition in what is expected to be a very close race.

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José Antonio Meade is the PRI’s candidate for Mexico’s presidency

11/30/2017 The Economist 

Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City
Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

ONE custom in Mexico’s era of one-party rule was the dedazo (big finger), the president’s choice of his successor, who would inevitably be elected to a single six-year term. The authoritarian rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ended in 2000, but the dedazo returned on November 27th this year, when Enrique Peña Nieto, the president, chose his finance secretary, José Antonio Meade, as the PRI’s candidate in the presidential election to be held in July. This time, though, the dedazo that counts belongs to the voters.

Mr Meade’s selection begins a seven-month race for a tough job. The next president will have to deal with a soaring crime rate, anger about corruption, a weak economy and Donald Trump, who may by then have decided to tear up or drastically change the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada. Mr Peña’s successor will also have to decide whether to carry on with reforms of the economy, energy and education that he began.

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Why Mexico Might Elect Its Own Populist to Face Trump

11/29/2017, The Washington Post via Bloomberg

mexican flagFor Mexico, the challenges mount. Poverty is rife. Corruption is the norm in daily life. Drug gangs have murdered more than 100,000 people in the last decade. And U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to rip up the free trade agreement that’s shaped the country’s modern economy. Frustration over the state of affairs has led to growing signs that Mexicans are ready for change, a spirit that’s shaping the 2018 presidential election campaign.

Polls indicate an early favorite for the July 1 vote: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the populist founder of the Morena party who’s run for president twice before. The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor calls the political establishment a “mafia of power” and vows to use money lost to corruption to boost social welfare spending. Voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who’s barred by the constitution from running again.

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