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Reformer

Mexico’s Fragile Governing Coalition

A New Government May Just be the Answer to Mexico’s Woes

Main Political Parties

Prior to the 2018 election, Mexico was ruled by two major parties — the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN). From 1921 until 2000, the PRI were in control. In 2000 and 2006, the PAN won the elections, with the return of the PRI in 2012. It was widely expected in 2012 that the PRI was going to win with the winner Enrique Peña Nieto bringing the PRI back to power.

Presidential Winner

The winner is a man named Andrés Manual López Obrador commonly known as AMLO who founded and represents MORENA. He was a presidential candidate who ran in 2006 and 2012. In both contests, he faced stiff competition from established political parties. In 2006, Felipe Calderón, a member of the PAN, was the winner after his fellow party member Vincente Fox won the presidency in 2000 ending the nearly seven decades of rule under the PRI.

Fragile Coalition

AMLO’s MORENA party is a left-wing party with its roots in nationalism and left-wing policies. Some critics liken his policies and ideas to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as part of the pink tide. The PES is a new conservative party that joined his coalition and holds more conservative views namely anti-abortion and close links to neo-evangelicals. Finally, the PT comprises of moderate progressives pressing on for worker’s rights. The obvious conclusion is that each of these parties have their own ideas and ideological objectives.

Mexico’s Contentious Relationship with its Northern Neighbour

Mexico has long held a strong trade relationship with its northern neighbour especially since the signing of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Many US companies like Ford outsourced their operations to Mexico. This outsourcing lead to the rise of maquiladoras or ‘manufacturing plants’ that lie in the border towns of Northern Mexico. Since President Trump’s election, the US/Mexico relationship has soured.

Populist Counter to Trump

The wave of populism has lead to the political game changers such as Brexit, AfD (Alternative for Germany), and the election of Donald Trump as the next US President in 2016. Populist movements are right leaning with a focus on tighter immigration with hints at nationalism. López Obrador’s victory falls into this pool of political game changers. Some may argue that López Obrador is the Donald Trump of Mexico having risen through a populist wave after two unsuccessful presidential bids. Such an argument may prove slippery, because AMLO has bucked the trend of populism and conservatism sweeping Latin America.

Future Outlook for Mexico

The future depends on whether AMLO manages to tackle corruption and set an example in Latin America. He finds himself in a potentially tricky situation as conservatism takes over as the main stream way of governing. On the other hand, some may argue that leftism has lost its place with the likes of Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff being impeached and Argentina’s Christina Kirchner no longer in power.

Final Thoughts

In the end, only time will tell how AMLO will act in terms of staying true to his election manifesto and keeping the poor’s best interests at the top of his agenda.

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Adam E. Badenhorst

Writer. Into politics, heritage, environment and crypto/future. Love a tough debate and intellectual discussions.