Tag Archives: Economy

Mexico’s Midterm Elections and the Peña Nieto Administration

 

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Legislative Proposals from the PAN, PRI, and PRD

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

In each election cycle, voters are subject to endless partisan propaganda by all political parties and, rather than providing clarity, it tends to confuse the electorate. In an attempt to provide clarity, the National Electoral Institute (INE) is holding discussion forums on the legislative platforms and the key proposals of each political party. In addition to INE’s efforts, the National University (UNAM) has launched Voto Informado (informed vote) an initiative that surveys the candidates and gather information on their public policy views. In the Mexico Institute, we made an analysis of the legislative platforms of the three main political parties, and highlight the following trends:

  1. Rule of law and security. The PRI, PAN, and PRD agree on increasing anti-corruption controls at the state and municipal levels and on raising penalties on public servants. They also agree on increasing education on and emphasis on human rights, both for citizens and security personnel such as police, Legislative Proposals from the PAN, PRI, and PRDjudges, and military. The PRD proposal focuses on drug decriminalization; the PAN seeks to promote the creation of public agencies to monitor compliance with the new anti-corruption rules; whereas the PRI focuses on the implementation of some of the security measures announced by the President in recent months, such as a single police entity at the state-level and a single nationwide emergency number.
  2. Economy and public finances. The PRI, PAN, and PRD agree on raising the minimum wage but differ on the level and method of doing so. The PRI encourages the use of public spending to boost development in specific industries and regions; the PAN wants to ensure multi-year investments in infrastructure projects; and, the PRD and PRI are proposing the establishment of unemployment insurance.
  3. Energy and sustainability. The PRI and the PAN agree to monitor the implementation of the reform to increase certainty for international investors, increasing transparency and accountability at every stage of contracts. The PRI is looking for policies to increase production of crude oil and the PAN seeks to focus on renewable energies. The PRD, in addition to seeking to repeal the energy reform, focuses on lowering prices to final consumers in gasoline, diesel and electricity prices.

Despite the apparent point in common that the parties have, it remains to be seen if the political incentives may provide an environment to reach productive agreements given the fact that this legislature will be a prelude to the next presidential succession. At the same time, it remains to be seen if the President and his team revive the political ability shown in the start of his government in order to build consensus with the opposition parties in key areas.

Finally, returning to the discussion of proposals, while it is not clear that Mexican society is enthusiastic about these elections, it is a good sign that the INE, UNAM, and other organizations are focused on disseminating information among the electorate and promoting the debate on the proposals. Hopefully, it will help to overcome apathy and increase voter turnout next June.

See the infographics below analyzing key issues on the PRI, PAN, and PRD legislative proposals. The proposals are grouped into 8 categories: rule of law, public finances, security, economy, education, social development, sustainability, and energy.

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Visit here for more information regarding the political landscape in Mexico

Visit here for more information on the parties for this election

Visit here to check all the legislative proposals (in Spanish)

Monterrey Emerges From Cartel Carnage as Investment King: Cities

By Nacha Cattan in Bloomberg 05/04/15

The attack that burned 52 people to death at a casino in an upscale neighborhood was bad. But what really scared Idalia Villafana’s customers away were the body parts once strewn across the plaza near her restaurant.

Villafana, 41, says she still can’t believe that the barbarism wrought by the Zetas drug cartel has largely subsided here near Monterrey, Mexico’s third-biggest metropolis, just a few years after she’d almost given up hope for peace.

For that, she can thank local business leaders who got fed up with the penetration of the legal system by criminal syndicates and helped create and fund a unique program to take back the streets. The result: murders in this industrial hub on the steps of the Sierra Madre are at a five-year low and commerce is once again thriving.

A bustling symbol of the turnaround is the factory South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp. is building for more than $1 billion not far from where the Zetas once operated a paramilitary base. That’s helped push the wider Nuevo Leon region, which touches Texas, past Mexico City as the national leader in pledged foreign direct investment, with another $6 billion expected this year, state officials say.

The money is trickling down the way it should for small business owners like Villafana, who has a contract to feed 190 of the workers from the Kia project at her modest, white-washed eatery. At the height of the violence in 2011, she says she struggled to pay a single employee. Now she pays six and is struggling to keep up with demand.

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The electoral race for Nuevo León

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Nuevo León is the economic capital of Mexico’s industrial north. It is on the U.S.-Mexico border, accounts for 7.5% of Mexico’s GDP, and is home to flagship Mexican companies, such as CEMEX (one of the world’s largest producers of building materials), ALFA (multinational conglomerate that includes petrochemical products, auto components, and refrigerated foods) and GRUMA (largest corn flour and tortillas producer in the world).

However, the importance of Nuevo León is also political. In 1997, the PAN won the governorship, but the PRI recovered it in 2003. Since then it has remained under PRI control. Recent polling by Reforma suggests the current electoral competition in the state has two interesting and contrasting tendencies.

1) The PRI candidate, Ivonne Álvarez, leads voting preferences with 32.8%. In second place, there is a tight race between Felipe de Jesús Cantú from the PAN and Jaime Rodríguez, an independent candidate, with 24% and 21.7% of preferences, respectively. This case is particularly interesting because in Mexico it is extremely rare for a candidate with no party affiliation to be in a competitive position for the most important political post in the state.

Jaime Rodríguez, nicknamed “El Bronco,” has been a politician for more than 30 years. He was mayor of García, a suburban municipality of Monterrey (the capital of Nuevo León). A former member of the PRI, he is famous both for his strong character and for having survived two attacks by drug-trafficking organizations. In fact, he is also the candidate with the highest approval ratings among the population with 54%, slightly ahead of the PRI and PAN candidates with 53% and 49%, respectively.

2) Opinions from leaders (academics, opinion leaders and the business community) contrast with the general population survey. In the leaders survey, the PAN candidate leads preferences with 41%, followed by Movimiento Ciudadano candidate, Fernando Elizondo, with 26%, Jaime Rodríguez with 18%, and Ivonne Álvarez with 10%.

Fernando Elizondo is also an interesting case, as he was interim governor for the PAN in 2003 and then Senator (2006-2012). He left the PAN in 2014, but he distinguished himself by having a good image among both the population and the leaders in his state.

Given these factors, the campaign for the governorship of Nuevo León promises to become more interesting as the election approaches.

Ivonne Álvarez

Felipe de Jesús Cantú 

Jaime Rodríguez

Fernando Elizondo

Visit here for more information regarding the political landscape in Mexico
Visit here for more information on the parties for this election
Visit here for more polls analysis

Reforma Polls

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

On March 26, the newspaper Reforma published its most recent public opinion analysis of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval rate. It is important to highlight three key aspects:

1. It seems that the approval rate has stalled at its lowest level and is not going to go lower, at least judging by the changes from previous figures. The approval is 39% for citizens and it drops to 17% for leaders.

2. The perception of Mexico’s problems varies between leaders and civil society. For the former, corruption is the main problem of the country, for the latter, crime is the main problem. 

3. Finally, the way economic issues are handled is what is most disapproved of by both groups, while health, education, and poverty are handled the best, according to citizens; and health and employment according to leaders.

In contrast with the low approval rates for the President, on a new pollster published on March 30 regarding voting intentions for federal deputies, Reforma locates PRI with an effective rate of 32%, PAN 22%, PRD 14%, MORENA 8%, PVEM 7%, ES (Social Encounter) 4%, PANAL 4%, MC 3%, and PT, PH, and independent candidates with 2%.

These results represent a rise for PRI and PRD and a decrease for MORENA, PVEM, and PAN, in comparison to the prior poll. Similarly, there is a surprising 4% for both the new ES party and the PANAL.

These results potentially indicate that the PRI is surpassing the low approval of the President and that the opposition parties have failed to capture that discontent for the Executive branch, with the exception of some small and new parties. Furthermore, it may also mean that some social issues, such as Ayotzinapa or local-level scandals of corruption, have not made a significant change in the mind of the voter. All these numbers are before the formal start of campaigns next Sunday, April 5.