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Mexico Needs an Accountability Shock

May 10, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Regardless of who wins the next Mexican election, what Mexico needs is an accountability shock, according to a discussion by Mexican political analyst and professor Denise Dresser about the 2018 Presidential Election in Mexico.

Justice in Mexico – an organization that works to improve citizen security, strengthen the rule of law, and protect human rights in Mexico – organized the discussion held at the University of San Diego on Tuesday, May 8.

“In the forthcoming elections in Mexico, that will be held in July 1, Mexico will elect a new president, new senators, new members of the House of Representatives, governors, and hundreds of municipal level officials,” said David Shirk, director of Justice in Mexico. “It’s going to be an exciting and must-watch election.”

Dresser focused her lecture on the four main runners for the presidential seat in Mexico, and the current needs of the Mexican people.

“I think Mexico has a severe problem of institutional design, and the absence of rule of law. It doesn’t matter how many structural reforms we implement, many of them that we will check off as necessary, and many of them that were tried by current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, they end up being corrupted and diluted by the absence of a functional judicial system,” Dresser said. “So I agree with political science scholar Guillermo Trejo, who wrote a recent article saying that regardless of who wins the presidential election what Mexico needs is an accountability shock.”

According to the most recent poll, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate for the Together We Will Make History Coalition leads the presidential race with 48 percent of voter support, followed by Ricardo Anaya of the Mexico in Front Coalition, with 26 percent of support.

In third place is the ruling party candidate, Jose Antonio Meade, with 18 percent of voter support. Independent runner and former First Lady of Mexico Margarita Zavala is in fourth place with 5 percent of voter support.

“With the institutional design that Mexico currently has, which creates corruption, we could elect Mother Teresa on July 1, and by the end of her term, she will have (an illicitly funded home) and accounts in the Cayman Islands,” Dresser said. “That’s why the accountability shock is necessary as well as an institutional remodeling.”

Dresser is also a columnist for Mexican publications “Proceso” magazine and the “Reforma” newspaper. Dresser was named one of the 50 most powerful women in Mexico and one of the most influential people on Twitter by Forbes magazine. She is the author of the bestselling book “One’s country, reflections to understand and change Mexico”.

Her forthcoming book “Mexican Manifest: how we lost the way, and how to get it back,” will be published this month.

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