Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Cuaderno Latinoamericano - In Mexico, the pro-business, conservative National Action Party (PAN) loses big in the midterm elections. Both the PRI and the PRD post big gains. The PRI victory could mean a return to the days of the dinosaurs, or it could mean a resurgence of the neoliberal, technocratic wing of the erstwhile ruling party. The bigger news is that the leftist PRD seems to have successfully shed the uninspiring leadership of a bland Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and has rallied around a platform and a leadership in Manuel Lopez Obrador that could really shift around the political landscape, tilting it leftwards, come the next presidential election in 2006. PANista President Vicente Fox is now a lame duck, who will have to capitulate whole hog to get anything done in the legislature. Mexico will lurch leftward (albeit in a pragmatic way, much like Lula in Brazil), and watch how this will complicate the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico in 2006 if Bush is into his second term. If Bush couldn't cozy up to Fox, I shudder to see the chilliness that will seep into the relationship under a Madrazo or a Lopez Obrador presidency. Watch out for the ex-Foreign Minister, Jorge Castaneda, as he builds up his credentials for a run at the Presidency. If you want to see some graphics, check out this link at Reforma. The most interesting development is the remarkable turnaround made by the PRI in the states bordering with the US, traditionally strongholds of the PAN. I'm not quite sure what this means, but it can't be too good for the PAN.

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