Mexico’s July 1 Gubernatorial Races and Their Impact on the Presidential Contest

Center for Strategic & International Studies, George W. Grayson, 6/25/12

Eyes are on Mexico’s July 1 presidential showdown in which Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) holds a robust lead despite a short-lived surge in May by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) backed by the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), the Workers’ Party (PT), and Citizens’ Movement (MC) – with Josefina Vázquez Mota of the National Action Party (PAN) running a close third.  Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, candidate of the SNTE teachers’ union’s New Alliance Party (PANAL) trailed the pack.  As the battle for Los Pinos presidential residence enters its final days, contests in the Federal District and six states offer insights into:

  • The “Peña Nieto effect” (the likelihood of his win sweeping other PRI candidates to victory);
  • The likelihood that the PAN will lose not only the presidential showdown, but state houses in its Jalisco and Morelos strongholds;
  • The potential for a long-shot leftist candidate to stage upsets in Morelos and Tabasco; and
  • The growing #YoSoy132 movement, christened the “Mexican Spring.”

Read the report here


New Publication: Mexico’s Election and the Economy – Voters Face a Tough Decision

Center for Strategic and International Studies, 5/17/12

Although security is commonly seen as the defining issue in Mexico’s upcoming presidential election, the country’s economic development ranks a close second in voters’ minds.

On July 1, despite the pervasiveness of the drug war in the political and social discourse, voters will make their decision based largely on the perceived successes and failures of 12 years of rule by the National Action Party (PAN).  This is partly because the three main parties have currently presented minor differences in tackling the security problem and partly because the Mexican economy continues to show such a dramatically uneven development pattern.

Of particular importance are continuing high levels of inequality manifested in Mexico’s society, a direct result of an economic system that, despite its current vitality, still offers little opportunity for upward mobility for most citizens.

The full publication is available here, at CSIS.

Drugs and Violence in Mexico Public Policy vs. Public Opinion

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Hills Program on Governance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies cosponsored the presentation of a national survey of Mexican public opinion at an event titled “Drugs and Violence in Mexico: Public Policy vs. Public Opinion”.

The survey was conducted by the Center for the Study of Institutional Governance (CEGI) at the IPADE Business School, the Colectivo de Analisis de la Seguridad Con Democracia (CASEDE) and the Sistemas de Inteligencia en Mercados y Opinión (SIMO).

The survey was national in scope and included respondents from both the most violent states in Northern Mexico as well as citizens from its safer regions. The surveyed states are governed by  all three major parties, thus adding the impact of political ideology to the survey’s results. The survey intended to measure the impact of the Drug War’s violence on Mexican society and the attitudes of Mexican citizens towards their government, public policy and even the upcoming elections.

Continue reading “Drugs and Violence in Mexico Public Policy vs. Public Opinion”

CSIS Report: “The Rise of Enrique Peña Nieto and the return of the PRI”

Duncan Wood, CSIS, 10/24/11

The prospect of the return of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is no longer a novelty; in fact, most observers of Mexican politics now assume that the party is a shoe-in for electoral victory in July 2012. Whether this is accurate remains to be seen, but it is truly remarkable how the party has recovered from the shock of losing the presidency in 2000 and then the disastrous performance in the presidential election of 2006, in which the PRI was relegated to third place in the polls.

Much of this recovery is due to the fact that it has adopted a strategic approach to regaining power since 2006, seeking unity among its members and elite factions and incorporating the opinions of the most astute of its senior figures, among them former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

However, in addition to the reawakening of the PRI’s political machine, a large part of the organization’s recent success is due to the discovery and promotion of Governor Enrique Peña Nieto, who has proven incredibly popular with Mexican voters and with the nation´s media outlets. The rise of Peña Nieto and the return of the PRI as Mexico’s dominant political party cannot be studied in isolation from each other. Both are important factors in defining the shape of the 2012 election campaign.

Read Full Report here…

Panel discusses Mexican fight against organized crime (in Spanish)

El Universal, 12/15/2010

Los cuatro años de la lucha de México contra los cárteles de las drogas han dejado un número significativo de arrestos, la eliminación de prominentes narcotraficantes, elevados decomisos y un nivel sin precedente de colaboración con Estados Unidos.

La información está contenida en el reporte independiente denominado ‘Esfuerzos CooperativosAntinarcóticos México-US‘ presentado este miércoles en Washington, donde se destacó el compromiso que México mantiene con Estados Unidos en estos esfuerzos.

Esto se ha reflejado en un nivel de intercambio de información que de acuerdo con los autores del reporte es evidencia de los nuevos tiempos de esta relación.

Para Duncan Wood, director del Programa de Relaciones Internacionales y Estudios Canadienses del Instituto Autónomo de México (ITAN) y coautor del reporte, este aspecto representa un parteaguas.

‘El hecho de que a través de la Iniciativa Mérida tengamos ahora un intercambio de inteligencia sin precedente entre agencias de Estados Unidos y algunas agencias mexicanas era impensable diez años atrás’, señaló Wood.

Read more…

CSIS Event: Cooperative Mexican – U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts

Center for Strategic and International Studies, 12/7/2010

Cooperative Mexican – U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts

The Simon Chair in Political Economy is please to host a presentation of a new report by Sidney Weintraub and Duncan Wood
Wednesday, December 15,
9:00 – 10:30am


This publication examines current efforts by Mexico and the United States to curb the growing strength of drug cartels in Mexico. Topics addressed in the report include narcotics consumption in the United States and Mexico; the flow of drugs to the United States and guns to Mexico; violence in Mexico stemming from President Calderon’s crackdown on the cartels; and alternatives to current antinarcotics efforts, including legalization of narcotics.

Introductory Panel Discussion:

David Holiday
Senior Program Officer, Latin America Program, Open Society Institute

Eric Olson
Senior Associate, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

To be followed with remarks by the report’s authors:

Sidney Weintraub
Holder, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Duncan Wood
Director, Program in International Relations and Canadian Studies, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM)

Please RSVP (acceptances only) to or by calling (202) 775-3123

Read more…

New CSIS Report: Cooperative Mexican-U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts

Sydney Weintraub and Duncan Wood of CSIS recently published a report entitled “Cooperative Mexican-U.S. Antinarcotics Efforts” that addresses the two countries’ efforts at cohesive, collaborative drug policies.

To read the read, please click here