Mexican President Pena Nieto to make annual address to the nation

Mexican President Pena Nieto to make annual address to the nation

Today, Enrique Pena Nieto will deliver his annual state of the nation address in Mexico City. Pena Nieto’s presidency has

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Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

Today, Enrique Pena Nieto will deliver his annual state of the nation address in Mexico City.

Pena Nieto’s presidency has been flagging for years amid persistent poverty and drug-related violence; Mexico recorded an astounding 23,000 murders in 2016, while close to 50% of the country is below the poverty line. The President’s approval has fallen to 12%, while his Institutional Revolutionary Party polls a distant third with 17% of the vote in next year’s general elections.

The President’s unpopularity has opened the political door for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his far-left MORENA party, which tops the polls with 33% of the vote; the first place candidate winning the presidency even without a majority. A fierce critic of Pena Nieto’s policies to liberalise Mexico’s energy and education sectors, Mr Lopez Obrador has sought to parlay President Trump’s unpopularity in Mexico into electoral victory, slamming Pena Nieto’s perceived deference to the American president.

The political benefits to attacking Trump are widely apparent; even if Lopez Obrador falters Mexico’s next President will be pressured to take a harder anti-American line. The result will likely be decreased Pan-American cooperation, which could complicate the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations.