Mexico has for the first time since December
2018 a marked left-wing president, Andrés Manuel López
Obrador, and the Congress is also dominated by left-wing
parties. López Obrador has promised profound changes,
which enthusiasm for many voters who are tired of
corruption, crime and poverty. But financial markets are
rocking concerns about radical and authoritarian
In the elections held in the summer of 2018, voters
largely turned their back on the traditional
establishment and supported Andrés Manuel López Obrador,
who is called Amlo after his initials. His party The
National Renewal Movement (Morena) also became the
largest in Congress after the election, which meant a
landslide victory for the Left (see Calendar). Together
with allied parties, Morena has a satisfactory majority.
This is the first time that the president has such a
majority in the back since 1994, when the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) still had total dominance (see
Country facts and history of Mexico, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
López Obrador is a former mayor of Mexico City who
came second in the previous two presidential elections.
Both times he protested against the result and
orchestrated extensive street protests (see Modern
History). He previously ran for the Left Democratic
Revolutionary Party (PRD), but then formed Morena in
2014. López Obrador is described as a left-wing populist
and has promised to address the "power mafia" in the
On the same day he swore presidential oath, López
Obrador opened the doors of the presidential residence
Los Pinos in Mexico City in a symbolically charged
gesture to the public. Just hours earlier, outgoing
President Enrique Peña Nieto had held a gala reception
for King Felipe of Spain on the spot. López Obrador more
than halved his own salary and lost a large part of the
president's security force.
However, the stock exchange and the currency fell
before López Obrador's entry, as many financial players
are worried that the new president will act hostile to
business. One example that, before the change of power,
caused a share decline and brought sharp criticism, was
the decision to stop the already started construction of
a new major airport outside Mexico City (see Calendar).
Initiatives of the new left-wing majority in Congress to
lower bank fees and increase state control over pension
funds have also swayed the market. However, López
Obrador has promised financial rigor and his finance
minister, Carlos Urzúa, is a well respected economist.
Despite this, critics' fears seem to come true when
the State Statistics Office reported that the economy
shrank in 2019, López Obrador's first year in power. It
was the first time since the global financial crisis in
2009 that growth was negative, albeit just barely.
In the spring of 2020, the corona pandemic came,
which means a blow to the entire world economy. Mexico
was relatively late in imposing movement restrictions
and President López Obrador at least initially seemed
almost to deny the severity of the virus. In mid-June,
the economies started to open again despite continued
spread of infection. Around 17,500 deaths in covid-19
had been confirmed, although the actual figure is
believed to be significantly higher.
In the 2018 election, López Obrador's representative
Enrique Peña Nieto was not allowed to stand for
re-election, but his party PRI also made a disaster
choice. It was clear that voters were not convinced by
his assurance that his government was radically
different from the old kind of PRI regime. Many Mexicans
associate PRI with power, corruption and interaction
with organized crime, since the party's dominance for
most of the 20th century. Under Peña Nieto, the anger
over corruption and drug-related violence grew. López
Obrador went to elections with promises to stop the
violence through efforts
Follow the events trend in Calendar.
FACTS - POLITICS
Estados Unidos Mexicanos / Mexico United States
republic, federal state
Head of State and Government
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (2018–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
National Renewal Movement (Morena) 191/55, National
Action Party (PAN) 81/23, Labor Party (PT) 61/6, Social
Meeting Party (PES) 56/8, Institutional Revolutionary
Party (PRI) 45/13, Citizens' Movement (MC) 27/7,
Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) 21/8, Mexico's
Green Ecological Party (PVEM) 16/7, New Alliance Party (Panal)
2/1 (2018) 1
Main parties with mandates in the second most
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) 203, National
Action Party (PAN) 108, Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)
56, Mexico's Green Ecological Party (PVEM) 47, National
Renewal Movement (Morena) 35, Citizens' Movement (MC)
26, New Alliance Party (Panal) 10, Social Meeting Party
(PES) 8, Labor Party (PT) 6, Independent 1 (2015) 2
approximately 63% in the 2018 presidential election
congressional elections 2021, presidential and
congressional elections 2024
- The figures refer to the Chamber of Deputies
2. The figures refer to the Chamber of
Peña Nieto takes over as president
Enrique Peña Nieto is sworn in as President (see July 1, 2012).
He appoints a government of 19 ministers, including 3 women. In a gesture to the
right-wing PAN, Representative Calderón's Finance Minister José Antonio Meade
becomes new Foreign Minister. Since PRI and its main ally, the environmental
party PVEM, do not have their own majority in the Chamber of Deputies, Peña
Nieto has also sought cooperation with the New Alliance Party (Panal). Together,
the three parties have a scarce majority.
Changed labor law
After two months of heated debate, Congress adopts disputed amendments to
labor law, the first major in 40 years. New rules should make it easier for
employers to hire and dismiss people.
The leader of the Zeta cartel is killed
Zeta's senior leader Heriberto Lazcano is reported to have been killed in a
firefight with military in Coahuila. According to Calderón, now 25 of the 37
most wanted criminals in the country have been arrested during his presidency.
Yet another drug king is arrested
Police say they arrested one of the country's most wanted men, Iván Velázquez
Caballero (also known as El Talibán or Z-50) in San Luis Potosí. According to
rumors, the days before the arrest he had moved from Zetas to a rival cartel.
Officers are suspected of intercourse with narcotics
The military seizes 35 police officers suspected of conspiring with the Zeta
cartel, in the states of San Luis Potosí and Veracruz. Many of the worst
massacres in Mexico in recent years have occurred in Veracruz, where rival
cartels fight for control of drug trafficking.
The golf cartel leader is arrested
A success in the fight against crime is made when the leader of the Golf
cartel, Jorge Eduardo Costilla, is arrested.
Mass escape from prison
The drug cartel Zetas is believed to be behind a mass escape as 131 prisoners
disappear from a prison in Coahuila.
Left candidate López Obrador forms new party
The Left's presidential candidate, Andres Manuel López Obrador, refuses to
accept the election results from July and calls for further protests. He also
announces that he is now leaving the left-wing PRD and its Alliance to form a
new youth movement: the National Renewal Movement (Morena).
Accusations of voting are rejected
Mexico's highest electoral court states that there is no evidence that Peña
Nieto would have "purchased" votes and favored media coverage. Thus, the
election result from July is finally finalized.
PRI's Peña Nieto wins the presidential election
PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto wins the presidential election. When the
preliminary announcement of the victory comes, PAN's Josefina Vázquez Mota
concedes defeat, but PRD's Andres Manuel López Obrador claims that PRI has
engaged in voice buying and requires a recalculation. After a few days, just
over half of the votes are recalculated and the result is then set at 38 percent
for Peña Nieto, 32 percent for López Obrador and 25 percent for Vázquez Mota.
The message is met by protests from tens of thousands of protesters in Mexico
City and López Obrador appeals the result. In the contemporary congressional
elections, the PRD is going strong, while the PAN is going back sharply. PRI
backs in the Chamber of Deputies but moves forward in the Senate. The result
will be 212/52 for the PRI (Chamber of Deputies / Senate), 114/38 for the PAN,
104/22 for the PRD, 29/9 for the Environmental Party PVEM, 15/5 for the Labor
Big protests against presidential candidate
Large demonstrations are held around the country organized by the network Yo
soy 132 (I am 132), after a first group of 132 students who protested against
PRI candidate Peña Nieto. The students accuse him of corruption and claim that
he "bought" the dominant TV company Televisa, which therefore angles its
reporting in his favor.
New massacres are discovered
Forty-nine murdered people are found near Monterrey, in one of the worst
massacres that occurred during the war between drug gangs. The victims have had
their heads and hands cut off.
Militants are arrested
Four high-ranking militants are arrested on suspicion of cooperating with
organized crime in the country. One of the arrested, Tomás Ángeles Dauahare, was
previously Deputy Minister of Defense and one of the leaders of the sharpened
action against the drug cartels that started in 2006.
The electoral movement before the presidential election begins
When the electoral movement officially kicks in, PRI candidate Enrique Peña
Nieto, former governor of the state of Mexico, leads the polls.
Yet another drug king is arrested
The police seize another drug king, Jaime Herrera Herrera, who is based on
the growing production of synthetic amphetamine.
PAN appoints woman as presidential candidate
Josefina Vázquez Mota becomes the party's candidate in this summer's
presidential election. This is the first time one of the major parties has
elected a female presidential candidate.