Mexico's poor economic performance since 2000 will seal the defeat of the governing National Action Party, or PAN, in next Sunday's presidential election, a new Center for Economic and Policy Research, or CEPR, report said.
The report was released on Wednesday, just four days before Mexican voters select their next president from among candidates Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the PAN, Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the leftist Progressive Movement coalition, and longshot Gabriel Quadri, of the New Alliance Party, or PANAL.
Nearly 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote for a successor to the PAN's Felipe Calderon, 628 federal legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections.
The CEPR analyzed Mexico's economy over the past decade, including the 2008-2009 recession, and concluded that "the country's economic failure is a main reason for the likely loss of the ruling PAN party."
"Mexico's economy has done terribly since 2000, and for the last three decades, by any comparison - compared to its past growth (e.g. 1960-1980), or even compared with the rest of Latin America, which has grown twice as fast in per capita GDP since 2000," Mark Weisbrot, lead author of the paper and CEPR co-director, said.
The rest of Latin America, meanwhile, posted per capita gross domestic product growth that was double that of Mexico, Weisbrot said.
After Latin America's "record-breaking economic failure of 1980-2000," many coutries in the region, including Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua and Bolivia, voted in leftist governments, while Mexico moved to the right in the 2000 election, voting in the PAN, the report said.
"Mexico's economic growth since 2000 has not improved over that of the long-term failure of the previous two decades. Its average annual per capita growth of 0.9 percent for 2000-2011 is about the same as the 0.8 percent annual rate from 1980 to 2000, and a small fraction of the 3.7 percent rate of the pre-2000 era," the report said.
Mexico's GDP contracted 9.4 percent during the 2008-2009 recession, effectively erasing nearly all the gains made in fighting poverty in the past decade, the report said.
"Unemployment has not recovered to its pre-recession level, but remains considerably higher at 5 percent, compared to 3.6 percent prior to the recession. However, these numbers are small in absolute terms, because the official unemployment rate does not capture the full extent of unemployment in Mexico," the report said.
The CEPR blamed the problems, in part, on policy errors.
"Policy mistakes have contributed to the poor performance of the Mexican economy. The Mexican Central Bank's monetary policy was too conservative, raising policy interest rates (to 8.25 percent) just before the recession. The Central Bank could have avoided some of the increases in unemployment and poverty by lowering interest rates much sooner and lowering them further," the CEPR said. EFE