Over the next few weeks, I will be covering the chaotic and often times scandalous happenings of Mexico’s Presidential Elections. When deciding on a long term topic to cover, I was overwhelmed with a variety of options such as the booming economic ventures of Japan, the disputes in Sudan and the continuous conflict over nuclear weapons that plagues Iran. However, I always found myself veering back to the ‘Americas’ page of major newspapers and being enthralled by the activities across our border in Mexico. The drugs, the politics, the violence – all seem so close and relevant to my society. Therefore, I knew that was the topic I was meant to cover, for it is crucial for us American to understand. Mexico, with its close proximity, directly affects our way of life and the way in which our country formulates foreign policies. In order to foresee the upcoming state of our country, it is imperative that we follow such an influential and monumental event happening to our neighbors.

On July 1, the Mexican government will transform and shift due to the entering in of a new leader. But first, in order to understand the elections, a clear understanding of the candidates must be made. Here are the elections forerunners as of June 18.

Enrique Peña Nieto – At age 45, Peña Nieto has served as governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011, and is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Due to the fact it is the political party that has held power in Mexico for approximately 70 years, this party is frequently called the state party. The policies employed by this party are often referred to as centrist or centre-left. Although it was early predicted that he was the favorite to win the presidential position, Peña Nieto has recently suffered in the polls, dropping to 37.0 percent after demonstrators accused him and his party of being corrupt. Peña Nieto has expressed plans to subdue the violence surrounding the drug wars by changing the police’s crime focus. Rather than searching for the leaders of the organizations, Peña Nieto wants to focus on convicting those that have participated in murders, kidnappings and blackmail. These acts have done the most damage to the population and are the highest concerns for the safety of the people.

Josefina Eugenia Vázquez Mota – At age 51, Vázquez Mota is a businesswomen and has served as the President of the Political Coordination Board of the Chamber of Deputies, Coordinator of the Parliamentary Group of the National Action Party and Secretary of Public Education. She is the first female candidate for the presidential position for the National Action Party, which has often been described as centre-right. In her campaign for president, she has adamantly proclaimed her intent to increase the creation of scholarship for students, instate life sentences for politicians involved in organized crime, start a movement against the discrimination of women, and change labor laws. Vázquez Mota remains in third place with 21.4 percent of the vote. Support for the National Action Party has slowly dissipated, due to the low availability of jobs and the violent drug conflicts.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador – At age 59, López Obrador served as the Head of Government of the Federal District from 2000 to 2005. He ran for president in the 2006 election, but was not successful. Currently in second place in the 2012 presidential campaign, López Obrador represents the Party of the Democratic Revolution, which is described as centre-left with a socialist ideology. He plans to implement economic reforms in order to create more jobs and cut back on unnecessary governmental spending. By issuing the Progressive Fiscal Reforms, the people who make a small amount of money will pay a smaller percentage of taxes in comparison to those citizens that have a larger salary. In addition, he hopes to stop fiscal privileges and end monopolies. He remains in second place behind Peña Nieto, with support totaling him at 23.5 percent. 

*Support percent results are from a survey performed by the polling firm Buendia & Laredo for the El Universal newspaper

To learn more about these candidates and the current state of the election, check out their party’s homepage as well as the following articles: Mexico’s Pena Nieto keeps wide lead in race: Polls (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/18/us-mexico-election-poll-idUSBRE85H17020120618) , Mexico presidential front-runner suffers poll setback (http://uk.reuters.com/article/) and Mexico’s presidential election: The old may be new again (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/).