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Mexico Institute in the News: Mexico’s Election Draws Eyes From Across Border

Eric L. Olson

Politicians and economists in Texas observe presidential race in Mexico to how their relations may change with a new President.

The Texas Tribune, January 7, 2012; reprinted via The New York Times; The Monitor, January 8, 2012

"...The PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto, the former governor of the state of Mexico, is the presumed front-runner. The leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, will field Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Tabasco, who in 2006 lost the presidential election to Calderón. Calderon’s own National Action Party, or PAN, is choosing between Santiago Creel, a Mexican senator and former minister of the interior; Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former member of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies; and Ernesto Cordero, the country’s former finance minister. Vázquez Mota, a former campaign manager for Calderón who is vying to be the country’s first female president, will most likely be named the party’s nominee on Feb. 15.

Schwebel said it is important to Texas businesses that the winner maintain Calderón’s economic policies and a consistent plan to combat organized crime, which has contributed to more than 50,000 homicides in Mexico in under six years...

Eric Olson, a senior associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., said that all of the candidates have vowed, in varying ways, to rein in the military’s role in the drug war and to instead rely on civilian police forces.

But it is unclear how quickly that can happen, Olson said. The relatively small ranks of the federal police force and the inherent weaknesses of the local and state police forces — and the government's limited ability to bolster them with honest officers — could delay the shift.

“I think there’s just bound to be a transition period, and the question is how soon that takes place... My hunch is that it will be a slow process.”..."

Read the full article at The New York Times or The Moniter.

About the Author

Eric L. Olson

Eric L. Olson

Global Fellow;
Director of the Central America-D.C. Platform, Seattle International Foundation
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more