What will the rest of Latin America make of Enrique Peña Nieto’s election as Mexico’s new president – and, with him, the return to power of the PRI?
Latin America felt like a very different place the last time Mexico held presidential elections in 2006. Back then, commodity prices were soaring and free-spending populist governments (or the “new Latin American left”, as they was sometimes characterised) were sweeping the polls. That is why the near-win in Mexico by leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka Amlo) was so closely watched. It would have made Mexico the crowning piece of a regional jigsaw dominated by populist (to varying degrees) or leftist (depending on how you view them) presidents in Argentina and Brazil, plus the more ideological group of ALBA nations – Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. At the time, such regional attention may also have emboldened Amlo, who went on to protest for three months, during sit-ins in Mexico City’s main thoroughfares and central square, that his victory has been stolen by Felipe Calderón’s centre right PAN.
Today, however, the regional political landscape has shifted. Populist (or leftist) governments are no longer ascendant. Read more