Las Vegas Sun, 7/03/2012

With two highly anticipated Supreme Court decisions released last week and a domestic presidential race growing more contentious as the calendar ticks toward November, the U.S. public could be forgiven if it failed to realize that Mexicans went to the polls Sunday to choose their next president.

While U.S. observers of Mexican politics said drastic changes in policy were unlikely, how Peña Nieto tackles his six-year term can affect the future course of the drug war, the health of Mexico’s economy and, as a result, immigration from south of the Rio Grande.

“The country has changed dramatically in the last 20 years,” said Chris Wilson, an analyst at the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. “A lot of checks and balances are in place now that didn’t exist when the PRI had an era of single-party rule. Congress is independent, the PRI doesn’t have a simple majority, and the governors have gained a great deal of independence.”