Making Votes Count: Mexico and the Dea(r)th of Policy
Enrique Cárdenas, Executive Director, Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias, Mexico
Mexico, like a dozen other countries in Latin America, goes to the polls this year. Mexico's first election since the fall of the PRI in 2000 promises to be relatively close, although polls suggest that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from the leftist PRD, is the leading candidate. The other two main contenders - Felipe Calderón, from the ruling PAN, and Roberto Madrazo of the PRI party which ruled the country for over 70 years - are lagging around 8 points behind, but many voters are still undecided. As in so many other countries, candidates seem to have focused on 'selling' their respective brands in a contest which some have characterised as full of mutual accusation but relatively empty of substance.
The Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias, a newly established independent think tank in Mexico, has carried out a systematic appraisal of the campaign so far. Its initial report, released in early March, caused a political and media storm as it castigated each of the three main candidates for inconsistent and lacklustre proposals. Favourite López Obrador fared worst of all in an overall ranking of the quality of proposals on rule of law, foreign policy, social issues etc.
The Centre's Executive Director, Enrique Cárdenas, will explain the methodology behind the study, present its results and describe reactions from the campaign teams. He will also analyse the project's implications for the future of political life in Mexico.
Enrique Cárdenas is an economic historian who was recently a visiting fellow at Saint Antony's College in Oxford, where he produced his latest book 'Cuando se originó el atraso económico de México', published by the Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset in Madrid.