Mexico ruling party routed in regional vote on graft, gang violence

6/6/16 Reutersvoting mexico

Mexico’s ruling party lost several bastions in Sunday’s regional elections to the center-right opposition, dealing a heavy blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto for failing to crack down on corruption and gang violence.

The rout will help set the tone for the next presidential election in 2018, underscoring deep discontent over graft scandals and a sluggish economy, and throwing the contest open to contenders from both the left and right.

Early results from gubernatorial races in 12 of Mexico’s 31 states on Monday showed Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, heading for defeat in seven of them, a result far worse than most polls had forecast.

Projected losses included two oil-rich strongholds in the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz and neighboring Tamaulipas, both of which have been plagued by gang violence for years, as well as Quintana Roo, home to Mexico’s top tourist destination Cancun. All three have been run by the PRI for over eight decades.

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Mexico’s Ruling Party Loses Gubernatorial Races in Several States

6/6/16 Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s ruling party lost several key states, including oil-rich Veracruz,

hqdefaultto the opposition in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections, a blow to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto and an indication voters are growing weary of scandals.

Mr. Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, also was ousted from power in stronghold Tamaulipas, a large agricultural and industrial state bordering Texas that accounts for about 3% of the Mexican economy and has been hurt by a rise in violent crime. In all, preliminary results Monday indicate, the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, was ahead in seven of the 12 states that held gubernatorial elections.

In Veracruz, Mexico’s third-most-populous state, the PRI came in third, losing there for the first time in 87 years. Departing Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte’s administration has been plagued by accusations of diversion of federal funds and corruption by the state police, as well as ballooning state debt. The state government has denied accusations of diverting funds and said all the debt has been taken on legally.

With 55% of polling stations reporting in Veracruz, Miguel Angel Yunes, the candidate from the coalition led by the PAN and the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, won 32.8% of the vote, defeating the PRI’s Hector Yunes, who had 28.7%. In second place, with 29.3% of the vote, was Cuitláhuac García of the leftist Morena party.

The electoral defeats are a blow to the PRI, which returned to power in 2012 after 12 years in opposition. The results also could mark a comeback for the PAN two years ahead of the presidential election in 2018. The PAN removed the PRI from Mexico’s presidency in 2000 for the first time in seven decades but came in third in the 2012 presidential elections won by Mr. Peña Nieto.

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Mexico leader Pena Nieto proposes legalising same-sex marriage

5/17/16 BBC News

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Mexico’s President, Enrique Pena Nieto, has proposed constitutional reform to legalise same-sex marriage across the country.

The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling that opened the way to such unions.

Gay marriage is only legal in the capital, Mexico City, and a few states.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and most recently Colombia have already legalised same-sex marriage.

Mexico’s Supreme Court declared last year that it was unconstitutional for the country’s states to ban such marriages.

Mr Pena Nieto made the announcement at an event marking Mexico’s national day against homophobia.

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Mexico and the Nuclear Summit: Can Peña Nieto Seize the Opportunity?

3/31/2016 The Expert Take, Mexico Institute

expert I (2)By Duncan Wood and Cristina Contreras

President Enrique Peña Nieto is in Washington this week to participate in the Nuclear Summit hosted by U.S. President Obama. While most attention has been focused on the participation of other countries in the talks, the explicit request by the United States government for the Mexican President’s presence offers an opportunity to focus on Mexico’s highly positive role in the global nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards regime. Although Mexico is not a major nuclear player, with no nuclear weapons and only one nuclear power plant of note (Laguna Verde, a 1.365 GW capacity plant that produces 4.5% of the nation’s electricity), the country has nonetheless played an important role in the history of non-proliferation and continues to be a showcase for best practices in the nuclear safeguards realm.

Mexico is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratifying the treaty in 1969 and the Additional Protocol in 2004. It is also party to the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, ratified in 1988. Most importantly, however, Mexico became a pioneer of the non-proliferation movement through the 1967 hosting and negotiation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco (Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean).  This groundbreaking treaty among the nations of the western hemisphere was instrumental in making Latin America a nuclear weapons-free zone. Just as significant as the impact of the treaty in the hemisphere has been its legacy in Mexico’s foreign service, where it is seen as representing the pinnacle of Mexican diplomatic prowess. Mexico serves as the depository for the treaty. Alfonso Garcia Robles, the Mexican diplomat who was the driving force behind the treaty and who later became foreign minister, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 for his achievement.

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‘Mission accomplished’: Mexican President says ‘El Chapo’ caught

1/8/2016 CNN

19437624579_88eab701c8_bDrug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been captured, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Friday via Twitter.

“Mission Accomplished,” the President wrote. “We have him.”

Keep up with the breaking news…

Headlines from Mexico

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1. The President’s Office decided to cancel the traditional gala dinner hosted by the Mexican government on September 15 at the National Palace, according to official sources. The decision to cancel the gala was made due to the austerity measures adopted by the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Read more: CNN México, Excelsior

2. The Head of the Secretary of Interior, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, announced on Wednesday a series of appointments in the Secretary: Humberto Roque Villanueva as the new Sub-Secretary for Population, Migration and Religious Affairs; Felipe Muñoz Vázquez as the executive of the National Public Security System. Arturo Escobar y Vega will take charge of the Undersecretariat of Prevention and Citizen Participation.

Read more: CNN México, Excelsior, AristeguiNoticias, El Universal

3. The Mexican Senate received the proposal by President Enrique Peña Nieto to ratify Agustín Carstens as governor of the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) for a term of six years.

Read more: Forbes México, El Economista

4. The leader of the PRI Senators, Emilio Gamboa, stated that the parties in the Senate are close to releasing a document urging the PGR to create two  special prosecutor offices for the case of Ayotzinapa. If necessary he will convene the coordinators tomorrow or Monday morning.

Read more: Milenio 

5. Members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IMCI) for the case of Ayotzinapa, formally submitted the final report of their investigation to the President of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Luis Raúl González Pérez.

Read more: La Jornada