Media & Politics: Assessing Mexico's Mid-Term Election Results
Authored by: Alma Aguirre and Marianna Rossell
The world was watching as Mexico’s mid-term elections on June 7th marked another chapter in the nation’s storied political history, which included the first-ever appointment of an Independent party candidate (“El Bronco” Jaime Rodriguez Calderon) as governor and one of the highest electoral turnouts for a Mexican mid-term election. While the established PRI and PAN parties once again secured the most seats, they nevertheless lost ground to emerging opposition groups such as Morena.
Opposition parties and civil society made their voices heard more strongly than ever before, creating plenty of buzz about the direction in which the nation is headed moving forward.
With the scenario above mentioned, on June 16th, 2015weopened a discussion to experts on Mexico's political, economic, and media landscape, hosted by our Corporate Member Linklaters LLP and with the special participation of our Corporate Member, Prosek Partners.
The conferenced had a mix of top political analysts and journalists from both Mexican, American and International media in order to analyze Mexico’s prospects post-election. Sean Silva, Senior Account Executive at Prosek Partners moderated the panel including Daniel Bases, Senior Correspondent at Thomson Reuters, Rafael de la Fuente, Chief Latin American Economist at UBS and Maria Hinojosa, Host at Latino USA and National Public Radio (NPR).
All panelists shared their views on the election results in Mexico from a U.S. perspective. Panelists touched on the ongoing violence, lack of security and rule of law, and corruption that resonates within the Mexican government. Panelists were pleased to report that corruption has decreased but acknowledged that large-scale challenges do remain.
Public office electoral races in Mexico have rarely gone unscathed from violent threats and outright murders by gangs, opponents and rivaling parties. This year, as many as three candidates and over a dozen people were killed in the days leading up to the election. Activists also burned dozens of ballot boxes in the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. However, despite this ongoing brutality, Mexico is still regarded as a source of progress in Latin America and in relation to the U.S. Panelists remain optimistic about Mexico’s future and emphasized that the country’s inflation is at an all-time low, the consumer sector is growing and Mexico has experienced a 1.5-2% increase in wages.
What will be most pivotal in affecting changes that are truly sustained is the country’s fiscal improvement and responsibility. The Mexican government made a commitment to cut spending and following through with the agenda they’ve designed will be imperative for continued success. And, of course, the public is waiting to feel the impact of the highly-anticipated and much-discussed energy reform.
While the U.S. media hailed Mexico’s recent reforms, there is also concern over which storylines were suppressed in the scope of U.S. publications. With the growing Latin population in the U.S., many wonder if Mexican-Americans are steering farther from their roots, which might be aided by the U.S. media glossing over the gravity of the more serious developments in Mexico. Furthermore, social media has become an emerging presence within Mexico’s political atmosphere, raising the question of whether this will increase visibility of important issues which are suppressed, or create clutter within our public discourse.
While many emerging markets experience their share of political and economic difficulties, the panelists agreed there is much hope for Mexico. They summarized interest from foreign investors, a burgeoning social media presence and an evolving political structure. Panelists were confident these factors will allow Mexico to weather the ongoing storm and emerge strong.