Politics: Governability at risk, Part II

MEXICO - Report 08 Mar 2021 by Guillermo Valdes and Francisco González

The complicated governability equation of the first two years of an administration with a severe governing capacity deficit for solving the country’s most pressing problems shows adverse results for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his 4T project that are unlikely to be reversed before his administration concludes. It is hard to conceive how economic growth, poverty, security and corruption indicators might improve above 2018 levels by 2024. Achieving that would require a radical re-invention of the administration, the probabilities of which are practically nil. However, certain events and signals suggest that governability will deteriorate in the coming months.

It appears increasingly unlikely that this June’s nationwide elections could provide any impetus for such a transformative change of course. The extent to which traditional parties have become thoroughly discredited means AMLO will have little to worry about from such quarters. At this point it appears the women’s movement, which has emerged as the strongest and best organized protesting social sector, may prove to be the only force that could have any significant impact against the governing camp in this year’s elections. Furthermore, the discredited opposition is only one among many reasons why the president continues to enjoy very strong public support, and much of society in no way blames him for his government’s dismal record. From his perch as the nation’s communicator-in-chief, he continues to inspire hope that things will improve and that only he can serve as the instrument of such change. Over the course of his daily morning press conferences, he has knitted a narrative of blessings his administration has bestowed upon Mexico, claims largely based on his famous “other figures” to which only he is privy and that appear far removed from reality. As long as he maintains such high approval levels he will have considerable political maneuvering room and free rein in attacking his opponents. Even if the president’s forces should somehow suffer a setback at the ballot box this June, it would most likely stoke his radicalization process to consolidate his grip on power, to the further detriment of governance.

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