Mexico’s Next President?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 29 2012 @ 8:48pm


Enrique Peña Nieto is way ahead in the final polls for Sunday's election. John Paul Rathbone has a useful guide to the contest:

What about security and the "drugs war"? Given that over 50,000 people have died in the past six years, this is the Box of Horrors that none of the candidates have dared open or offer many specifics on – except general rhetoric about how they all want to bring down violence. How to achieve that, though, is the harder question – especially as 8 of 10 Mexicans back President Felipe Calderon’s policy of using the army to fight drug cartels, according to a poll by the Pew Research Centre. Mr Peña has said he wants to set up a gendarmerie of 40,000, and that security spending should rise further until it approaches something close to Colombia’s levels of 5 per cent of GDP. He has also hired General Oscar Naranjo, Colombia’s former police chief, as his security adviser. The "Drugs War" is therefore likely to continue, even if its tactics somewhat change. But policy specifics are likely to made-up on the hoof.

Daniel Hernandez reports on opposition to Peña Nieto and his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI):

The party ruled the country for much of the 20th Century until 2000 with a potent mix of strategies that ultimately boils down to power-by-any-means necessary. It has a widely documented history of vote-buying, fraud, collusion with drug traffickers, censorship, intimidation, election-stealing, and often fatal repression against dissidents—from the assassination of top party figures such as Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994 to the outright massacres of student protesters in 1968 and 1971. Peña Nieto says the PRI under his candidacy is a new party, and that his campaign should not be faulted for the party’s “errors” of the past.

(Photo: Enrique Pena Nieto, presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), greets supporters during his final campaign rally on June 27, 2012 in Monterrey City in Mexico's state of Nuevo Leon. By Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images)