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Mexico faces challenges

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Times have been tough in Mexico for a few years, and 2018 may not be much better, including the possibility of a new administration being elected with the support of only a small percentage of the population.

Left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador leads recent polls ahead of national elections to be held next July, which could be contested by as many as five candidates.

Whoever places first will be President in an electoral system without a second round.

Uncertainty over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreeement has recently driven down the value of the peso, already low since the drop in oil and commodity prices in 2014.

Corruption scandals have damaged expectations for the ruling Institutionalized Revolutionary Party, while the former governors of no fewer than seven of Mexico’s 31 states face accusations of embezzlement totaling billions of dollars.

On the macro economic front, international financial markets are no longer granting Mexico the status of a Latin star, while Brazil, despite its own scandals and a misfiring economy, is finding it easier than Mexico to borrow money in international markets.

For ordinary Mexicans, the trend is already old.

Between 1996 and 2015, per capita growth in Panama was 122 percent, followed by Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador, Argentina and Brazil.

Guatemala was second lowest in Latin America at 28 percent. while Mexico at 26 percent was last.

A revived Trans-Pacific Partnership could hold promise as an alternative to Nafta.

An alliance among centrist parties could derail the presidential aspirations of Lopez Obrador.

But for now, Mexico has no shortage of challenges.