Mexico Presidential Elections

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Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is the Mexico’s President Elect. Luis Ramirez, President of Ramirez Advisors Inter-National, a firm dedicated to international business and government affairs, talks about the elections and what it means for the United States.

Richard Ruelas: Mexico's old guard was back into power after a 12-year hiatus last Sunday as the official vote handed a victory to Enrique Pena Nieto. The federal electoral institute's count said Pena Nieto of the institutional revolutionary party or PRI won about 38% of the vote. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the democratic revolution party representative had 31%, and Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling national action party had about 25%. With me to talk about the elections is Luis Ramirez, the president of Ramirez Advisors, a firm dedicated to international business and government affairs. Thanks for joining us this evening.

Luis Ramirez: My pleasure.

Richard Ruelas: What happened to Mexico? Tell us the capsule of how the pri returned to power.

Luis Ramirez: A lot of speculation has been that, over the last 12 years, you've had a bad administration. We went through very difficult times, recession, the criminal components in Mexico, so I think people were starting to look for something different, something new. How can we change something? What do we change to get to a better situation? And I think that's what you ended up seeing.

Richard Ruelas: Something new but not entirely new.

Luis Ramirez: Not entirely new. I think it was also -- you know -- people that could say who can we bring in that could do something about the situation. It also is a situation that the PRI is not the same PRI we used to know, that was in power for 71 years. The main candidate himself is not the typical candidate of the pri, not the dinosaur they've referred to. He's a young guy. I'm proud to say he's a young guy, 'cause I'm actually five days older than he is. And he's the next president of Mexico. The image, the presence, it's all different than what the PRI was in the past.

Richard Ruelas: They needed to redo the face of the party?

Luis Ramirez: Well, I think, if you hadn't seen that change, I'm not sure we'd be having the conversation we're having today and that the pri would be in power. I think the people are also looking for the strong hand, somebody that can make a change, somebody that can confront some of the issues, both the criminal and economic and everything else that not only Mexico but the rest of the world is facing. But I think people were saying, if it's just bringing back what we had before, we're not sure that's what we want. Nieto was able to say, we are a different pri.

Richard Ruelas: What ramifications do you see as he takes office and starts his administration?

Luis Ramirez: Well, we'll find out. This is the exciting time. All of us are going to be watching everything from his picks to -- for the members of his cabinet. I think that will say a lot about what we can expect. As almost any campaign, there was a lot of generalities about what they're planning on doing. We haven't seen a lot of specifics. People are saying, he's going to want to privatize, and that's not really what he said. He wants to open it up a little bit more for more private sector investment, the number 1 source of foreign exchange for Mexico's growth. Mexico's dwindling in output in terms of natural gas, but there's new technology that may be available. Can foreign companies bring that technology in without relinquishing the government control? That would be a tremendous battle if that was what he was proposing doing. There were a lot of generalities. The next month or two months, I think we're going to start seeing a lot more details. And particularly his picks for the cabinet, I think, will be critical.

Richard Ruelas: The other sort of rumor-filled spot is how he's going to handle the drug wars. There was talk about him appeasing. And we've got to wrap up quickly, but even the rumors of him changing the drug fear, will that affect the business community?

Luis Ramirez: I think a lot of people misunderstood some of his comments. I think, yes, he was saying we will appease, but I think he was also saying we need to address the day to day criminal feel so that people can go on about their daily lives. Certainly what Rudy Giuliani did in New York many years ago, there was a lot of criminal components he took out of New York, and people felt better about living in New York. I'm trying to read into his mind at this point in time, because he hasn't come out with the details.

Richard Ruelas: Do you see people feeling an unsteadiness about investing or traveling to Mexico now?

Luis Ramirez: Again, I don't think because of the election that took place yesterday -- nothing has changed today. We're still going to see a transitional period, because the Calderon administration is still in power until the end of the year, and then we'll see what the plans are for the Nieto administration, and then we can have another conversation. I don't think anything dramatic is going to change at least at this point in time. Nothing specific has come out saying we're going to do something totally different. I think you heard some of those details in a speech last night that he gave at the pri headquarters.

Richard Ruelas: And obviously the politics affect us here. It affects business.

Luis Ramirez: Absolutely.

Richard Ruelas: It will be interesting to see, as time goes on, what kind of --

Luis Ramirez: We'll be watching very closely. Absolutely.

Richard Ruelas: Always a pleasure to talk to you.

Luis Ramirez: Thank you so much.

Richard Ruelas: Thanks for joining us here on "Horizonte." And that is our show for this Thursday night. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Richard Ruelas. Have a good evening.

Luis Ramirez:President, Ramirez Advisors Inter-National;

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