Texas Tech University

Mexican Elections to Select Entirely New Government Amid Crises

Glenys Young

June 25, 2018

Neither the president or any current legislators are eligible for re-election.

Amid intensifying political struggles with the United States, Mexico's voters will go to the polls on Sunday (July 1) to elect an entirely new leadership. According to Mexico's constitution, incumbent president Enrique Peña Nieto is not eligible for a second term and neither are any previously elected or current members of the legislature, although the country's political reform in 2014 means legislators elected this weekend are eligible for re-election in the future.

Those taking office will have to deal with many of the same hot-button issues ongoing in American politics: illegal immigration, U.S. President Donald Trump's demand for a border wall and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Despite notable similarities between Trump and Mexico's leading presidential candidate, there's already a history of bad blood that doesn't bode well for future interactions.

Iñaki Sagarzazu
Iñaki Sagarzazu

Iñaki Sagarzazu is an assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Department of Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences who specializes in Latin American politics and how institutions' roles in politics affect individual voters. His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, West European Politics, Political Science Research & Methods, Latin American Politics & Society and Policy Studies Journal, as well as in several book chapters in edited volumes. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Latin American politics and political communications. Sagarzazu sometimes posts his political analyses on Twitter and his blog. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.


Iñaki Sagarzazu, assistant professor of political science,(832) 230-6021 or inaki.sagarzazu@ttu.edu

Talking Points

  • Mexico is suffering a significant crisis of its institutions, with numerous corruption cases involving all major political parties, while problems of inequality, crime and drugs continue to be unresolved.
  • The discrediting of political institutions is particularly harsh with the three traditional political parties – the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) – which furthermore have proposed candidates who seem to ignore these complex realities.
  • In this context, former Mexico City major Andrés Manuel López Obrador – a populist leftist leader once associated with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and a former member of the PRD – is leading the polls with a proposal to “drain the swamp.” His new party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), could get a significant number of seats in the bicameral legislature and in gubernatorial races.
  • The conflict between the U.S. and Mexico created by Trump's arrival in the White House has further fueled the rise of this leftist populist leader, who has vowed to defend Mexican interests.