Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

But foreigners can't vote

Gorbachev was very popular in Europe and the US, but he wasn't well liked in the USSR. Today, some Russian legislators want to investigate him for treason.

Mexico's president isn't being accused of betraying the country, but he's more popular outside of Mexico than he is in the country. What kind of crazy politics are going on? Is this the PRI's last gasp?

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto slumps in polls despite policy wins
[F]or all the praise he has won in Washington and elsewhere in the world, Peña Nieto’s opening act is getting panned in the only place it really counts: Mexico…

Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have fallen fairly steadily since he took office in December 2012, dropping to 37 percent in one recent poll, with other surveys rating him in the mid-40s.

The biggest problem, analysts say, has been Mexico’s feeble growth…

His most widely touted move, a constitutional amendment opening Mexico’s state-controlled energy sector to private and foreign investment, was advertised as a catalyst for faster growth. But it may take years for the benefits to materialize.

According to Mexican economist Luis de la Calle, a bold legislative agenda doesn’t tend to favor short-term success…

Peña Nieto’s attempts at overhauling Mexico’s institutions have made him powerful enemies. He has challenged mega-billionaire Carlos Slim’s near- monopoly on Mexican telecom and tossed the once-feared teachers union boss, Elba Ester Gordillo, in jail on corruption charges.

Such moves won’t result in immediate, tangible benefits for ordinary Mexicans.

They have, however, made a splash in foreign capitals, where Peña Nieto has spent a lot of time trying to turn around negative perceptions of Mexico as chaotic, corrupt and dominated by drug traffickers. He has traveled to China and other Asian countries to drum up business, sought to repair strained relations with France and met frequently with President Obama, promoting his “reform” agenda at every stop.

Yet the changes that earn Peña Nieto applause at global policy forums are getting booed back home…

The most likely beneficiary would be the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party and the breakaway party Morena, headed by former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador… Those parties could make it tougher for Peña Nieto to get subsequent legislation approved.

And while Peña Nieto’s low-key style hasn’t made him many personal enemies, he represents a political party with a spotty past from the 72 years it controlled the Mexican government prior to Fox’s win in 2000…

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