Calderon’s Cauldron

Under dramatically inauspicious circumstances, Mexico has finally got itself a new president last Friday. Felipe Calderón has taken the oath of office, braving the wrath of his left-wing opposition, out-smarting the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) and its leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but nonetheless paying a high price. Every TV news show and front-page headline in the world ran the same headline: “New Mexican President inaugurated in chaos and fisticuffs.”

Mexico’s institutions withstood – just barely – the onslaught of a virtually insurrectional left-wing opposition, bent in vain on stopping Calderón’s inauguration, and of a resentful Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), increasingly dedicated to allowing Calderón to take office, and then fail miserably. Calderón impressively overcame apparently insurmountable obstacles on the way to the presidency, yet the struggle to govern and transform Mexico has just begun.

Most Mexican commentators believe that it should be relatively easy for Calderón to improve on the largely self-inflicted failure of outgoing President Vicente Fox’s term. Mexico needs to grow at roughly twice the rate that it did under Fox (a meager 2% per year). If Calderón can strengthen law and order, and use his considerable political skills to reach agreement with the PRI on structural economic reforms, he will succeed.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/u1cHWY2;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.