first_imgShareEXPERT ALERTDavid [email protected] U. experts available to comment on Sunday’s Mexican electionsHOUSTON – (June 28, 2018) – With Mexicans going to the polls Sunday to elect a new president, 500 members of Congress and 128 senators, Rice University has two experts available to comment on the implications of a defining moment in Mexican politics.The director of the Mexico Center at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Tony Payan, will be in Mexico this weekend and available for phone interviews. According to polls, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as “AMLO,” is poised to capture the presidency, and it is likely that his party will obtain a majority of seats in at least one of the houses of Congress.Payan said the election is not only important to Mexico, but to the United States as well.“On Sunday, Mexico will hold one of the largest and most important elections in nearly 100 years,” Payan said. “This election promises to be crucial not only for Mexico but also for the binational relationship with the United States.“This is important because AMLO has shown a great deal of skepticism toward the economic development model that Mexico has pursued for the last three decades, including a close partnership with the United States and Canada through the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has also decried the 2014 energy reform and is likely to slow its implementation or reverse it altogether. In addition, he is less likely to accommodate U.S. security interests, particularly when it comes to the joint war on drugs and stemming the flow of Central American migrants through Mexico.“Mr. Lopez Obrador, many say, is Mexico’s response to a more nationalistic approach to public policy and the economy that we are currently witnessing in the United States. If so, AMLO may broaden the range of economic instruments to boost the Mexican economy, including subsidizing agriculture, increasing government investment in the energy sector and re-prioritizing the country’s security interests away from U.S. interests. All that means additional contentious points in the binational relationship – points that will need to be resolved as it has become clear over the last years that both countries need each other to resolve many of the problems that ail the continent and the world,” Payan said.Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and professor of political science, said Lopez Obrador should cruise to victory.“There is no doubt that the ‘third time’s a charm’ for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,” Jones said. “After failing in his first two attempts to capture the Mexican presidency in 2006 and 2012, AMLO will coast to victory on Sunday.“The only doubt is by what margin he wins and whether his ‘Together We’ll Make History’ coalition will capture an absolute majority of the seats in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and Senate.“AMLO is a left-wing populist, and his expected election as president has unnerved foreign and domestic investors, who will be adopting a wait-and-see approach on his presidency to determine whether the left-wing populist rhetoric he employed on the campaign trail will become reality or whether, in order to spur investment and development and generate much-needed revenue for the Mexican government, he will adopt a much more pragmatic approach to policy,” Jones added.“With Donald Trump in the White House and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Los Pinos (the Mexican presidential residence), we can expect much more public conflict via Twitter and press releases between the leaders of these two nations — a sharp contrast to the first year and a half of the Trump presidency, during which the lame-duck and unpopular Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has tended to try to avoid direct conflict with President Trump whenever possible,” Jones said.To schedule an interview with Payan, who is also the Francoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies at the Baker Institute, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at [email protected] or 713-348-6327.To interview Jones, who is also a fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute and a fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, contact him directly at [email protected] University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio available this weekend for Jones. Rice’s ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.-30-Image for download:http://news.rice.edu/files/2018/03/0326_MEXICO-b-1cqmtnh.jpgImage courtesy of Rice University/123rf.com.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. 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