The political system of this country during the 20th century has not managed to consolidate a competitive democracy

Mexico and AMLO: a destructive government?


Mexico is a country with more than 125 million inhabitants, has the second largest economy in Latin America and the third largest in the Americas, after the economies of the United States and Brazil. Its political system during the 20th century has not managed to consolidate a competitive democracy. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) dominated Mexican political life for seven decades. Therefore, the Mexican political system was defined during the 20th century as a "hegemonic party system".

Clara Riveros

The 21st century brought important changes to the country: alternation, separation of powers, competitive elections, transition, significant democratization and many expectations inside and outside the country. Currently there is no re-election. The presidents of the 21st century, namely Vicente Fox (2000 and 2006) for the National Action Party (PAN); Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), also for the PAN; and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) for the PRI. The 2018 election was won by Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). In the past, López Obrador was a member of the PRI (1976-1989) and, later, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). His victory was preceded by two defeats. He lost to Felipe Calderón and then to Enrique Peña Nieto. In 2018 he won with 30 million votes, the equivalent of 53% of electoral support. Ricardo Anaya, his opponent in the Coalition for Mexico to the Front, won 12 million votes, or 22%. President López Obrador has been in the Mexican political scene for several decades and took office in December 2018, currently completing 20 months in power.

Clara Riveros

By the end of 2019 AMLO's approval rating, as he is known, reached 72%, but by early 2020 53% of Mexicans believed that corruption had increased. The management of the coronavirus crisis has exposed the shortcomings of the head of state. Note that, in the middle of this year, 59% of Mexicans disapproved of the presidential handling of the pandemic. Mexico is one of the 10 countries in the world with the most infections and deaths. In the last week of July, the country surpassed 395,000 infections and 44,000 deaths due to the pandemic. In addition to the health crisis, other crises from previous years are tending to worsen: violence, insecurity and impunity, among others. There are other questions for the president regarding his treatment of Central American immigrants, the extension of powers to the army or the lack of transparency in the use of public resources. These are some of the most critical issues of the López Obrador administration.

Clara Riveros

Sectors of the Mexican intelligentsia have been warning for several months about the excessive power of the president. In fact, in an extensive analysis published in the first days of July, the writer Enrique Krauze stated that: "No ruler in the modern history of Mexico has accumulated the power that López Obrador has and exercises". Krauze pointed out that this "has been a destructive government that has systematically - one would say deliberately - destroyed the economy and employment, has razed valuable public institutions to the ground, has squandered a sensitive part of the national heritage, has poisoned the public atmosphere, has undermined the balance of power, has made a mockery of laws and freedoms and, finally, has abandoned millions of Mexicans to their fate".

This week, the international consultant Gustavo Ferrari and the writer and journalist Julio Patán participated in "De ida y vuelta"; they analyzed the factors that made AMLO's rise possible, the management developed by the president, his foreign policy which, like the Brazilian one, is a function of domestic policy, as well as the perspectives for the near future. The analysts commented on the religious instrumentalisation, which is not new in López Obrador, the religious aura that surrounds the president, his messianism - since 2006 Enrique Krauze called him "The Tropical Messiah" and his ways of governing.