CLAS Visiting Scholar Sergio Aguayo analyzes the threat of "Billionaires, Governors and Drug Lords" to democracy and stability in Mexico against the backdrop of the contentious 2006 election.
When Vicente Fox, the presidential candidate of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), unexpectedly upended 71 years of PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) rule in 2000 he unleashed a brief period of widespread optimism in Mexico. Since leaving office in late 2006, however, that euphoria has turned to anger. Today, the once-popular Fox has become mired in scandal, caught between a corporate-owned Hummer and allegations about the funding of his lavishly remodeled ranch house. While Fox proclaims his innocence, many political observers now view his presidency as largely transitional, characterized by legislative gridlock and tepid economic growth.