Mexico Will Host a Presidential Election Next July

Mexico will hold its presidential election on July 1, 2012. A successor to President Felipe Calderon will be selected. Some 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to not only to vote for a new president, but also decide on 628 legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections.

The 2012 presidential race in Mexico will have three relevant frontrunners: Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) and the most recently to be nominated is Jose- fina Vazquez Mota representing Mexico’s Conservative Party (PAN).


The contrasting social and economic reality of this country at present makes it hard to predict an outcome. On one side, the implementation of President Calderon’s security strategy against drug gangs has increased crime rates up to 60%. On the other hand, the country has sustained its economic growth, maintained low inflation and has continued to attract higher foreign direct investment (FDI).

THE CANDIDATES

Mexico has three major political parties. These three parties according to Mexican political standards would put the PRD on the left, the PAN on the right, and the PRI somewhere in the middle.

The three major parties have selected their candidates for the presidency. The three principal parties are the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, the Party of the Democratic Revolution), the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the Institutional Revolutionary Party), and the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional, the National Action Party).

On November 16th, 2011, the PRD chose as its candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is the former runner-up in the national election six years ago.

On November 21st, 2011, Enrique Peña Nieto became the candidate for the PRI.

And finally, on February 5th, 2012, the PAN primary election was held with the winner being Josefina Vazquez Mota, making her the party’s candidate.

ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR

“I want this to be heard near and far — we will have a market economy. But the state will promote development and fight inequality. Without economic growth and job creation in Mexico, we won’t be able to confront the migratory phenomenon.”

Trajectory and Professional Achievements
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He started his political career in the PRI in 1976, collaborating in Carlos Pellicer’s campaign for a Senate seat from Tabasco. A year later, he headed the Indigenous Institute.

He resigned the PRI and joined the National Democratic Front in 1988, and the following year he became a member of the PRD. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Tabasco two times.

In 2000, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won a six-year term as mayor of Mexico City. He was the PRD presidential candidate in 2006, a race he lost by a razor-thin margin of just 0.56% against President Calderon. Lopez Obrador became one of the most popular politicians in the country when he was Mexico City’s mayor. This was due to his policies to improve conditions for low-income groups and support for a series of public works.

Campaign Proposals:

  • Austerity Plan
  • Combat the monopolies
  • Aggressive fiscal reform
  • Low energy and production costs
  • Develop the Economy into a GDP of a 6% annual growth
  • Generate 1.2 million new jobs yearly
  • 50% reduction in the salaries of major public officials
  • Infrastructure development
  • Creation of an entity that will finance small and medium companies; e.g. a “Small Business Administration”

ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO

“Only in countries that promote competition is there innovation. This allows the population to enjoy more and better quality goods and services at better prices.”

Trajectory and Professional Achievements
Enrique Peña Nieto has been a member of the PRI since 1988 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law. He is former governor of the State of Mexico. His political career mainly comes from his service in the government of the State of Mexico. In 2003 he was elected local deputy for the Congress of the State of Mexico. Previously, he was in charge of the state’s Economic Development Ministry and he also served as its Deputy Minister of the Interior.

Most recently the Governor of the State of Mexico, Peña Nieto, 44, has had a long and successful career in politics in the State of Mexico and he frequently ranks as the front-runner in the polls. He formally joined the race on September 19, 2011. He is seen as the “new face” of the PRI. Others in the party have so far been supportive, perhaps eager to avoid the fatal divisions that, in part, doomed the party’s 2000 and 2006 candidates.

In his gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Nieto made 608 promises, which he guaranteed he would achieve if he was elected. As a result, in his last governments’ annual report, he declared he had accomplished 505 of his promises. Mr. Peña Nieto is considered to have a marketfriendly potential, as well as being the most popular candidate in recent public opinion polls.

Economic Proposals:

  • Maintain Mexico’s macro-economic stability by supporting autonomous institutions such as Mexico’s Central Bank.
  • Intensify policies to reduce monopolistic practices.
  • Boost Mexico’s energy potential by opening PEMEX to private investors while maintaining Mexican ownership of the country’s natural resources.
  • Increase investment in human capital, science, and technology through strategic alliances with the private sector.
  • Expand accessibility to financial credit for Mexicans, which is currently only 23% of GDP.
  • Invest in infrastructure through public and private alliances.
  • Increase the size of the job generating informal economy including health, unemployment, and pension benefits.
  • Transition the U.S.-Mexico relationship from a trade partnership into a deeper and more competitive North American integration.
  • Develop specific policies to support Mexico’s industrial activities.
  • Conduct tax reform that would allow Mexico to be less dependent on its oil revenues.

JOSEFINA VAZQUEZ MOTA

“I do not want to be president because I am a woman. Being a woman is important, but it’s not the most important. I want to be president because we have the talent and the platform and the vision of a Mexico that we want for all Mexicans, not only for a select few.”
Trajectory and Professional Achievements
Josefina Vazquez Mota is an economist and member of the PAN. On December 1, 2000, President Vicente Fox appointed her Minister of Social Development. This was a position she held until January, 2006, when she resigned and joined the presidential campaign of Felipe Calderon as coordinator.

In November 2006, President Calderon appointed her Education Minister, a post she resigned in 2009 to stand as a candidate for a legislative seat in the July elections. Under Ms. Vazquez’s leadership at the Social Development Ministry, the “Opportunities” program was extended to serve five million families.

Proposals:

  • Growth of the Mexican Economy as the global economy does
  • Strengthen the competitiveness and welfare of the Mexican economy by promoting the local market
  • Homologation of taxes and simplification of the tax system
  • Opening of PEMEX to the private sector
  • Energy Reform that is modern and ef- ficient
  • Strengthen the health and social security of those with the lowest income
  • Fight corruption
  • Seek life sentences for politicians who collaborate with organized crime
  • Increase the number of student scholarships
  • Carry-out labor reform that would see the annual inclusion of 400,000 people into the formal economy
  • Continue Calderon’s war on drug cartels
  • Fight against discrimination of women

CONCLUSION

As Mexico prepares to elect its new president in 2012, there are several economic challenges that the new administration will face. Univision News spoke with some experts who agreed on two major points: 1) Mexico needs to boost its economic growth, and 2) The future of PEMEX could pose a problem for the president-elect. From now on, it will be the interaction between candidates, institutions and media that will determine the outcome. Candidates need to plan ahead and develop integral economic and social strategies giving certainty to voters and renewed confidence in the State of Law. The presidential race has started.

Considering the candidates and the current Mexican atmosphere, three possible scenarios are offered:

  1. Resurgence of the PAN After 12 years of being in charge and considering the aftermath of Calderon’s war on drugs the party’s image is worn out. This party should start out again fresh by trying to renew the voters’ perception.

    Josefina Vazquez Mota has mostly developed her career outside the limelight. She might be able to bring about a sense of a renaissance within party lines. There is a possibility for change and considering that the country has never had a female in power, the election of Vazquez Mota could mean a complete shift in Mexican policy-making.

  2. PRI regains power The party’s strongest asset is the fact of being away from the presidential chair for the last 12 years. The PRI has had time to renovate its political platform and is approaching the electorate in a completely new way.

    Peña Nieto has been strongly supported by the media and he is the favorite contender to take over according to the polls.

  3. The leftist turn-around The PRD has based its strategy on the creation of coalitions and alliances. If the PRD wants to have a chance, it needs to project a clear vision of the future and work Felipe Calderon Hinojosa as a unified left.