Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Mexico’s presidential campaign: The questions that matter

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on July 11, 2011

by The Economist – Americas View, July 11th, 2011.

The United States’ ambassador in Mexico notoriously described the presidential candidates of the ruling National Action Party as a “grey” sort of bunch. In a questionnaire last week in El Universal, a daily newspaper, the leading panistas show off their human side. Alongside serious questions about the campaign, we learn about their favourite films (ominously, The Godfather is a popular choice), smells (good earthy Mexican countryside ones prevail), and even which actor or actress they fancy most (two candidates boost their internationalist credentials by going for Jennifer Aniston and Juliette Binoche; the rest play it safe by sticking with mexicanas).

The final question is that classic interview killer: what is your greatest weakness? As a colleague on the Financial Times noted recently, the favoured technique is to list a weakness that is actually a strength. Three candidates deliver classics of the genre: “Persistence to the point of stubbornness,” boasts Santiago Creel, the current front-runner in most polls. “Being addicted to work,” claims Josefina Vázquez Mota, hot on his heels. “Perhaps I spend too much time reading,” admits Emilio González, governor of Jalisco.

A different tactic is employed by Ernesto Cordero and Alonso Lujambio, the secretaries of finance and education respectively, who both confess to taco-based weaknesses. Javier Lozano, the labour secretary, is a little more honest, if not modest, about his weaknesses: “Nothing in particular,” he says.

You can read the whole hard-hitting interview (in Spanish) here. Serious reporting will resume later this week.

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