Mexico’s elected president might change security and energy policies, affecting U.S. interests

Sunday’s election for president, Congress, and key governor’s races in Mexico will have no immediate or dramatic effect on the U.S.-Mexico relationship, according to Robert Donnelly, a political analyst based in Mexico who formerly worked at The Wilson Center Mexico Institute, a major think tank on U.S.-Mexico issues.

However, ties between the two countries, especially in the security arena, could shift or adjust once the virtually elected president Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured left) from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), takes office next December, the expert writes for IBTimes.

Security cooperation between Mexico and the United States most likely will change as a result of the presidential elections in Mexico. Americans can also expect a change on the bilateral agenda regarding the energy sector.
“President Calderon’s hard-line strategy against organized crime, of which enhanced cooperation with the United States is a main component, has been losing popular support,” says Donnelly. He considers that the 2012 election is a referendum on Calderon’s policies, which his many detractors claim have actually fueled the country’s rampant cartel violence with nearly 50,000 Mexicans killed, many of them were innocent civilians.

Some analysts have suggested that future security strategies will concentrate on more conservative approaches, working to limit highly violent cartel flare-ups and, in so doing, enhancing the appearance of law and order while maintaining popular support for security policies.

“Whether it’s fair or not, right now, the PAN is essentially viewed as the party of violence, chaos and economic stagnation,” University of San Diego political scientist David Shirk told Reuters. “It has been twelve really hard years in Mexico and people have become disenchanted with so much sacrifice in the name of democracy.”

Regarding the energy sector, Peña Nieto has signaled a willingness to increase private-sector investment in oil exploration and production. Opening the sector to greater investment by the private sector could create new opportunities for U.S. and world oil companies and enable Mexico to exploit its deep offshore oil reserves, which it cannot do alone.

Although changes to current investment rules would require legislative approval, Peña Nieto will likely enjoy working majorities in both the lower-house Chamber of Deputies, as well as in the Senate, Donnelly predicts.

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About tanialara

Tania Lara has a vast experience working as a journalist in Mexico and the U.S. reporting in-depth about the economic contributions and realities of Mexican immigrants. This summer, she will be covering border issues and elections for the 21st Century Border Initiative blog. Her stories about complex cross border matters have been published in Spanish-language media outlets including CNN México, Expansión, and ¡Ahora Sí!, as well as the English-language newspaper The Austin American-Statesman.
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