Enrique Peña Nieto, político mexicano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interviewee: Shannon K. O’Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies
Interviewer: Brianna Lee, Production Editor June 29, 2012
Mexicans head to the polls on July 1 to vote in a presidential election that looks likely to return to power the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran the government from 1929 to 2000. Polls show PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in a wide lead over rivals Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), despite the emergence of the “YoSoy132″ student movement that has rallied against the PRI’s legacy of corruption. Peña Nieto’s “rhetoric is that he is from a different generation, it’s a different PRI,” says CFR Mexico expert Shannon K. O’Neil, but, she says, “it’s hard to tell.” The new president will need to accelerate the economy’s “stable but fairly slow growth” and will inherit a violent drug war that has led to increasing insecurity for Mexicans, O’Neil says. On combating the drug cartels, she says that “the focus will probably change, but the actual policies implemented will see a lot of continuity.”
Is it a foregone conclusion that Enrique Peña Nieto is going to win, or is there still room for surprises?
It’s becoming increasingly hard to imagine a scenario where he doesn’t win. There is still, depending on the polls, roughly 15 percent of the population that says they’re undecided, and for most polls that would be enough of a percentage to change the results, assuming that that whole 15 percent didn’t go to Peña Nieto, but that’s kind of a large assumption.