Rising to the Challenge: Mexico’s Push for Deeper Reform

May 07, 2015
04:00 pm - 05:30 pm

1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004

Carlos Elizondo, Research Professor, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico

Introductory Remarks
Christopher Walker, National Endowment for Democracy

Christian Caryl, Senior Fellow, Legatum Institute and Managing Editor, Democracy Lab

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About this Event

Peña Nieto secured the Mexican presidency by only 38 percent, yet he embarked on an ambitious, cross-cutting reform program. The Pacto por México, forged with the two major opposition parties, aimed to modernize and inject growth into the Mexican economy. While it has seen achievements in two years, many challenges remain. From special interests and political corruption to persisting security issues and weak institutions, managing reform in Mexico’s fragile political climate will be a true test of President Nieto’s leadership and his historic coalition. Can Mexico succeed in achieving modernization of both the economy and society? Are there lessons to be learned from Mexico’s past record of reform? Does Mexico’s experience offer insights for other countries undergoing similar reform challenges? In conversation with Christian Caryl, Carlos Elizondo examined the politics behind Mexico’s reform agenda and share his insights on the way forward.

This discussion is part of a series of case studies on “Building Coalitions for Reform” organized by the Legatum Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, and World Affairs that explores the politics of economic reform in developing democracies.

About the Speakers

Carlos Elizondo Mayer-Serra is a professor and researcher at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City. He is currently on sabbatical at the Graduate School of Public Administration and Public Policy at the Tec de Monterrey. Previously, Carlos served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OECD. He is a national researcher of the Mexican National System of Researchers and writes a weekly column for Excelsior. He has authored several books, most recently Con dinero y sin dinero…Nuestro ineficaz, precario e injusto equilibrio fiscal (Random House Mexico, 2012). Recently, he was appointed as an independent member of the Board of Directors at Pemex. Carlos received his Ph.D. and M. Phil. in Political Science from the University of Oxford in 1994.

Christian Caryl is a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute and the editor of Democracy Lab, a website co-published with Foreign Policy magazine that follows political transitions from around the world. Previously, Christian worked as Washington bureau chief for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. From 2000 to 2009 he was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek, running the bureaus in Moscow and Tokyo. He has reported from some 50 countries and his assignments have ranged from Japanese cuisine to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His first journalistic assignment was covering the collapse of communist East Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. He is the author of the book Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century (Basic Books) which was shortlisted for the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature.

Christopher Walker is Executive Director of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, a leading center for the analysis and discussion of the theory and practice of democratic development. His articles have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy.com, Barron’s, The Far Eastern Economic Review, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Journal of Democracy, and World Affairs.