Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 21, 2011

Institutionalizing policy

Not everybody agrees that the policy of using the army in Mexico to combat the drug cartels works, but the president is trying to persuade enough people that it might so they'll make the policy part of the regime.

Mexico’s President Works to Lock In Drug War Tactics
As the twilight of his presidency sets in, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico is striving to lock in the militarized approach to drug cartels that has defined his tenure, pushing aside public doubts and pressing lawmakers to adopt strategies he hopes will outlast him.

Mr. Calderón has recently stepped up calls for Mexico’s Congress to approve stalled initiatives to remake state and local police forces, codify the military’s role in fighting crime and broaden its powers, toughen the federal penal code and tighten laws to stop money laundering.

At this pivotal point, with violence swelling and presumptive candidates jockeying for position ahead of Mexico’s presidential election in July, Mr. Calderón has limited time to make the case that his strategy has worked…

[H]is party, the right-of-center National Action Party, faces the real prospect of losing the presidency, raising the question of whether Mr. Calderón’s approach will continue after his six-year term ends next year. Term limits prevent him from running again.

The killings in Mexico have reached such a point, analysts say, that no matter who wins the election, there will be intense pressure for a new course to somehow ease the violence without giving in to the cartels…

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