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New governments in Colombia and Mexico: same challenges

Monday, August 20, 2018

Central America’s big neighbors are launching new governments, led by Iván Duque in Colombia, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, that aim to transform their sluggish economies.

Successive governments in Bogotá and Mexico City have for decades promised a new age of prosperity, but none has emerged.

As a result, Duque's government and the future regime of López Obrador, are seen as part of a world-wide wave of populism that has overwhelmed traditional political parties.

Both face two main challenges: security and democracy.

But the situation is different in each country.

Duque takes office following the approval of a peace deal with the FARC, which is resented by much of the population.

But the guerrillas have identified leaders, with whom Duque can seek to negotiate a revised arrangement.

Meanwhile, his Democratic Center is one of nine parties each both the House of Representatives and the Senate, with no group in clear control.

By contrast, López Obrador will be the the first Mexican president since the democratic era began at the turn of the century to have an absolute majority in both Houses of Congress.

On the other hand, much of the violence in Mexico involves various narco groups, with poorly defined and often changeable structures, with whom no Mexican goverment has been able to negotiate.