As Bea pointed out earlier this weekt, on Sunday, July 1st (the same day as Canada Day!) Mexico elected a new president.Â On Sunday it was already more than clear that the winner was Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate for the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI), who gained a total of around 39% of the votes. (There are some areas being recounted, but the runner-up gained about 32% of the vote, with a Â difference of 3 million votes â€“ itâ€™s unlikely that recounts would close this gap much.)
Of course, everyone who owns Mexico real estate or is interested in buying will want to know what this means for them.Â Is this bad news, meaning an end to the policies of the National Action Party (PAN) which held the last 2 presidencies, whose policies were quite favorable to foreign investment and expats real estate owners?Â Or is it a new direction for an old party bringing a promising future for the next 6 years?
While it is hard to say for sure what the implications will be until we see what kind of policies and actions the new president takes, we can take a look at what people are saying and the facts we know about Enrique Pena Nieto and his party.
As always, there are 2 sides to every coin; letâ€™s start by looking at some concerns people have, and then letâ€™s look at some of the positive points.
Some expats, investors and other observers are concerned that the National Action Party (PAN) did not win this election.
â€œIt seems this group moved the country ahead under [President Felipe] Calderon,â€ observed one expat.Â Itâ€™s true that under the last 2 presidents â€“ Vicente Fox (2000-2006) and Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) â€“ the economy grew and the country modernized considerably.Â These years have probably also been the most favorable for non-Mexicans to invest and live in Mexico.
The concern isnâ€™t so much that a new party has taken power, but more the history of the party that has taken power, the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI); this is the same party that ruled Mexico with autocratic policies for 70 years between the end of the Mexican Revolution and the victory of Vicente Fox.Â During this time, progress was slow (and often at a standstill,) the country was fiscally backwards, corruption abounded and a highly inefficient bureaucratic system was established that still plagues government offices to this day.
Having taken even a brief look at the PRIâ€™s past, itâ€™s easy to see why people are concerned (this is true of both expats and Mexicans.)Â However, Enrique Pena Nieto, the PRIâ€™s candidate who has been elected to take office as president on December 1, 2012, is claiming that he is breaking with the partyâ€™s past to take a new direction for the party and for Mexico.
There are good signs â€¦
Besides Pena Nietoâ€™s promise to break with the past, there are some good signs that suggest positive potential for his presidency:
- Pena Nieto seems much better than the runner-up, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has close ties with the likes of Hugo Chavez (president of Venezuela) and Raul Castro (president of Cuba.)
- The concerns about the new president deal with the party, not the man who won; Pena Nieto was the governor of the state of Mexico and has his own track record to consider.
- New highway infrastructure flourished in his governorship, and it seems that the economy did quite well. There was also good progress for those living in poverty. He gained wide-spread support in that state.
- It seems that he is very aware of the foreign investment issues.
- Rumor has it that he may be making immigration laws (fm2, fm3) easier â€“ this is great news for expats!
And there are some positive points to consider even about the party itself:
- While the economy, modernization really took off under Fox & Calderon, the whole thing with tourism and promoting foreign investment actually started with PRI presidents back in the 70s and began to flourish under them throughout the 80s and 90s.
- PRI state governors have successfully built up flourishing and very expat-friendly destinations for residing in and investing; Quintana Roo, which includes Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum, is a great example.
While it is still much too early to say if the new president will be good for real estate buyers, expats and the country in general, it is also too soon to say that the return to a PRI president is a return to the past.
There are definitely optimistic points to look to, and letâ€™s hope for the best!
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