Latin America Advisor Interviews ManattJones CEO on Mexico’s Presidential Race
“What’s at Stake for Businesses in Mexico’s Presidential Election?”Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor
March 1, 2012 – ManattJones Global Strategies Chairman & CEO James R. Jones spoke to Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor on Josefina Vázquez Mota, the presidential candidate of Mexico’s ruling National Action Party, and what’s at stake for the country’s business community in the election. A poll released in February showed Vázquez Mota is trailing the Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto.
When asked his thoughts on the polls and election, Jones, who is a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, replied:
"I wouldn't put much stock in any polls at this stage of the elections. When the campaign officially begins at the end of March, the shape of the race will be much clearer. My personal judgment is that the winner will probably get less than 40 percent of the vote and the outcome could well be another cliffhanger, as happened six years ago. The PRI and its leadership are substantially different than they were a dozen years ago when the party lost its first election. However, its political machine in all parts of the country is intact and rejuvenated. Thus, the PRI's campaign ground game is quite impressive. Its candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, is an attractive campaigner. However, he has really never been tested in a gloves off national campaign which I expect this to be. Josefina Vázquez Mota is a scrappy campaigner who will carry the fight to her two male opponents. She can separate herself in many ways from the unpopular record of President Calderón without losing the core PAN support and attracting independent voters. Unless something unforeseen happens, she will make this a very close race and has every potential of winning. Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador is the biggest unknown. He needs to reinvent himself and establish an image that supports development of business while not forsaking his fight for the poor. He is doing that now. If he succeeds in emulating a Lula-type image, then he could make it a very competitive three-way race. Whoever triumphs, the winning party will again head a minority government. Thus, it will be imperative to be thinking about a coalition in the Congress that can agree to pass a limited but important legislative agenda of reforms to get Mexico on the road to achieving its real potential. Perhaps a multi-partisan cabinet coalition will also be considered. Otherwise, Mexico might well miss another opportunity to build on the impressive economic and political reforms that occurred in the 1990s."
Jones also sits on the publication’s Board of Advisors.
Read the article here.
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