'Who Could Have Predicted That?' Mexico's Election Results and their Implications
Mexico's economic significance combined with its particular geography have long made its political direction a source of interest and concern for the rest of the continent to north and south. The 2006 presidential race, moreover, puts to the test the emergence of 'real' democratic structures in Mexico, representing as it does the first contest since Vicente Fox of the centre-right National Action Party (PAN) put an end to longstanding single-party rule with his 2000 victory over the 'official' Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The drama of the election grew during the final weeks of campaigning as opinion polls showed a neck-and-neck race between Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the centre-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the PAN's Felipe Calderón.
What will the election results tell us about Mexico's process of democratic consolidation and the new government's likely policy direction in the years ahead? Experts in the country's politics and economics will join together to provide a preliminary assessment of the 2 July outcome.