Univision News, March 29, 2012

The Mexican Presidential Elections will be kicking into gear in the next few days. “So what?” you might ask.

Well, if history is any guide, the coming months will be filled with intrigue and scandal. The last election led to weeks-long protests by the losing candidate, who is running again, this time against a perfectly-coiffed ex-governor with a mysterious death in his past, and a woman who could round out the Latin American trifecta of female leaders (Brazil and Argentina being the other two countries led by women) if she were to win in Mexico.

But beyond the reality show drama, this year’s election will be particularly interesting because of what is at stake. Mexico’s young democracy is at an important crossroads.Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, says that with the 2012 election, Mexico will be

“deciding if there are common national priorities that people, regardless of party and ideology can rally around –- or if Mexico will continue to lumber along with mediocre growth and rising crime.”

For quite some time, this country of 113 million people has seemed to be on the verge of something extraordinary. In 2000, Mexico finally shed the single party rule that had its grip on the country for more than 70 years. A new optimism took over. The new leaders would finally be able to get Mexico’s act together, by tackling corruption and working towards economic stability and day-to-day security. But more than anything, for the first time, Mexicans felt like their voices were being heard.