For seven decades, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had held a hegemonic rule in Mexico. However, in the July 2000 election, a surprise opposition candidate under the National Action Party won, marking the first time in the Mexican history when power had been passed democratically to another party (Judge & Langdon, 2016). Vicente took over power under a period of major economic challenges, and growing demand for transformation and Mexicans had immense hope that the new president would guide the country out of the problems. However, during the Fox presidency, several issues derailed the desires and policy aspiration of the regime.
One of the major challenges that Fox experienced is the changing international economic environment, which threatened the competitive advantage of Mexico as a preferred location for U.S. multinationals seeking cheap labor. With the enactment of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), many U.S. companies had pushed their manufacturing plants into Mexico to benefit from the cheap labor (Judge & Langdon, 2016). Such trend had ensured that millions of Mexicans had employed, and thus prosperity. However, the emergence of China, and other nations such as India as destinations with even cheaper labor meant that Mexico was not facing a difficult time ahead as more companies preferred the Far East for their manufacturing operations (Judge & Langdon, 2016). Consequently, it became increasingly difficult for Fox to attain the economic growth that his regime had promised.
The second problem that Fox faced in his presidency was the growing tensions between Mexico and the United States due to illegal immigration. The events of September 11, 2001, drastically altered the U.S. immigration and border control laws, and this resulted in stringent regulations that drastically affected the movement of people between the two countries (Judge & Langdon, 2016). However, with the United States accusing Mexico of doing little to control its people from moving illegally across the border, the outcome was detrimental to trade between the two nations. Without the goodwill of the United States, the tensions meant that many U.S. companies were not as willing to move to Mexico as compared to how that situation had been in the pre-2000 period. The outcome was a sluggish economic growth, which reduced the popularity of Fox.
The most serious challenge that the Fox presidency faced was the lack of control over the Congress, which greatly affected the ability of the regime to push for policy changes that would pave the way for the achievement of envisioned reforms (Judge & Langdon, 2016). While his party, the Alliance for Change had the most seats in both the upper and lower chambers of the Congress, collectively, the opposition constituting the IPR among other parties had more members (Judge & Langdon, 2016). Consequently, it proved very difficult for Fox to push his legislative agenda, as many of his proposals were shot-down. Furthermore, as a transitional president, the society had very high expectations, and this set the stage for the shortcomings now attributed to his leadership.
While the presidency Fox will retain its legacy of introducing a multi-party political environment by taking over power from the seven-decade reign of the IPR, it faced major challenges. The changing global economic environment, as well as the growing tensions between Mexico and US over immigration, hindered the desired growth. Furthermore, the lack of control over Congress made it difficult for Fox to pass legislation that would facilitate the achievement of presidency desires. Consequently, due to the above problems, Fox's presidency failed to live up to the expectations of Mexicans.
Judge, E. H., & Langdon, J. W. (2016). Connections: A world history (Vol. 3). New York, NY: Pearson.
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