A Message from the Director: Announcing our 2018 Mexico Elections Guide


Every six years, Mexicans go to the polls to pick a new President and a new Congress. The country’s democratic transition, though still far from complete, has made impressive strides since the 1980s, and competitive elections and political alternation have become institutions firmly embedded in political culture. Elections give voters the opportunity to choose the individuals and the party that will rule Mexico for the next six years, and since 1997, those voters have shown a deep dissatisfaction with incumbents. During this period, the country experienced a shift from PRI-ista hegemony to divided government in 1997, to successive PAN presidential victories, the second of which was heavily disputed and then, in 2012, a return to PRI control of the presidency and the Congress. Mexicans exercise their democratic rights on a regular basis, and they do so effectively. Though the democratic system is far from perfect, elections matter in Mexico. They are relatively free and fair, determine outcomes, and allow the citizenry to express both their discontent and their preferences.

It thus gives us great pleasure to introduce The Mexico Institute’s 2018 Elections Guide. Since 2012, the Mexico Institute has provided comprehensive coverage of Mexico’s presidential and congressional elections, by curating news articles and opinion polls online, and by soliciting and publishing unique content from our extensive network of analysts and experts. This archived material will now be joined by our coverage of the July 2018 election: we will provide information and analysis of the campaigns and the personalities that will compete to rule Mexico for the next six years. Over the next 11 months, we will track the parties and candidates, as well as the most important issues, domestic and foreign, which will determine voter preferences.

In addition to the content posted on this blog, the Mexico Institute hopes to host the leading candidates as they lay out their ideas and policies. These events will be presented live online as webcasts and will be archived for future reference. We intend to live up to our commitment to non-partisanship and public education by ensuring that all candidates and parties engage in robust dialogue with our audience. To further this, we will be asking you to inform our work with your questions and concerns.

Thank you for following this blog and for supporting our work. The vote that will take place on Sunday, July 1, 2018 presents Mexico with divergent visions of the future, and our staff and experts will provide detailed and impartial information and analysis to help steer you through what promises to be a complex and keenly contested election.

We hope you enjoy the new resource.


Duncan Wood

Visit the Mexico Institute’s 2018 Elections Guide



6/23/15 Oil and Gas Financial Journal

energy- oil pumps 2Mexico’s energy reforms provide an historic opportunity to revitalize its energy sector and bolster its overall economy, but a whole new crop of assets will have to be protected and attendant risks sensibly managed, says Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford, a Miami-based independent global wholesale, underwriting management and reinsurance broker group.

Last year, Mexico’s Congress gave final approval to energy reforms intended to open up the country’s upstream oil and gas sector to badly needed private investments. Such industry participation by other nations had been outlawed in Mexico since the 1930s. However, despite abundant oil and gas reserves, Mexico’s energy sector is underdeveloped and sorely in need of technological assistance and investment capital to bring it into the 21st century. Mexico already imports large volumes of natural gas by pipeline from Texas, and is in danger of becoming a net importer of oil as well.

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Mexican Congress Approves New Rules for Oil Industry

08/05/14 The New York Times

justice - gavel and bookMexico’s Congress approved on Tuesday a sweeping overhaul of the energy industry that cleared the way for international giants to tap Mexico’s rich reserves of oil and gas.

The new legislation is the centerpiece of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s plan to jump-start economic growth by allowing competition in one of Mexico’s most stagnant sectors.

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Mexico Passes Fresh Energy Laws, Advancing Sector Reform

08/02/14 The Wall Street Journal

MEXICO CONGRESSMexico’s lower house of Congress has passed a series of laws to help reorder the energy industry, including a controversial plan for the government to take over billions of dollars in pension liabilities at the state-owned energy companies.

Passage of the new laws, which the house wrapped up in the early hours Saturday, moves Mexico closer to completing an energy overhaul passed last year, in which the constitution was amended to allow private companies to explore for and produce oil in Mexico for the first time since the 1938 expropriation of the oil industry.

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Debate rages over Mexico’s plan to open energy markets

07/30/14 Los Angeles Times

energy - gas pumpPoliticians stand on the podium in the lower house of Congress, waving signs and shouting, “Viva Mexico, THIEVES!” Outside, crowds demonstrate. The sessions drag on into the wee hours until an earthquake forces everyone to evacuate.

It might be a rather typical week in the life of Mexican legislation, if it weren’t for the momentous nature of the laws that are under discussion.

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Mexico’s Energy Battlegrounds Come Into Focus, But Rules Of Engagement Remain Undefined

634px-Rig_wind_riverForbes, 5/2/14

International investors have been abuzz about the prospect of reforms to Mexico’s energy industry ever since that country’s Congress adopted a constitutional amendment late last year that would bring private investment to the long-closed sector. In the intervening months, attention has focused on a second legislative process: one that will establish the rules and regulations that govern the new energy market. To date, these legislative efforts have given one clear sign of how the reforms will proceed: slowly.

The clock has already run out on the legislative session that was meant to iron out details of the reform process. Congress has given itself more time, declaring an extraordinary session, but the delay itself is telling. It indicates just how much daylight remains between the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) legislators and their main counterparts in the National Action Party (PAN) on key questions of regulatory oversight. The National Hydorcarbons Commission will regulate the oil sector, but sharp disagreements over that organization’s independence and leadership remain unresolved. The extraordinary session cranks up the pressure on lawmakers to come to an agreement, but it also increases the odds of a half-baked regulatory framework that diminishes regulatory stability and allows the politicization of oil sector oversight to persist.

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Mexico Parties in Final Phase of Energy Bill Negotiations

MEXICO CONGRESSBloomberg News, 4/24/14

Mexico’s two biggest parties reached agreement on key points of legislation needed to implement an energy overhaul that will end a more than seven-decade state oil monopoly, top party negotiators said.

While the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the National Action Party, or PAN, are working out details, such as how much autonomy regulators will be granted, negotiations are in the “final phase,” said Juan Molinar Horcasitas, who runs the PAN’s political policy body.

David Penchyna, a PRI lawmaker who heads the Senate’s energy committee, said the oil proposal the federal government sends to Congress next week will be welcomed by the opposition as “a very good initiative,” declining to elaborate on contents of the bill. It will be presented before April 30, the last day of Congress’ spring session, he said by telephone.

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