Mexican presidential election has effects on Arizona

Jul 3, 2012, 7:06 AM

Mexico’s old guard, the Independent Revolutionary Party, or PRI, is back in power after a 12-year hiatus with the weekend election of Enrique Pena Nieto.

Mike O’Neil, a Valley political strategist, said it’s too soon to tell what the return of PRI means to Arizona.

“A lot of outsourcing that had been going to China is returning to Mexico, so it’s of monumental importance that we have a stable trading partner,” he said.

Mexico is Arizona’s largest trading partner and O’Neil doesn’t expect a huge degree of difference between soon-to-be former Mexican President Felipe Calderone and incoming leader Nieto with regard to trade issues.

But it remains to be seen how the two differ on dealing with violent Mexican drug cartels that have left more than 50,000 people dead, according to many experts.

“Calderone adopted an aggressive and largely military policy whereas the new president says he won’t cut deals with the cartels,” said O’Neil.

“But we need to wait and see because there’s always a difference between campaign rhetoric and what people do in practice.”

PRI was voted out in 2000 after 71 years in power.

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Mexican presidential election has effects on Arizona