Democracy Dialogues: Mexico's Critical Electoral Turning Point

Luis Carlos Ugalde, former head of Mexico's electoral agency, covers why democratic guarantees are at stake in the June 2 contest.


  • Luis Carlos Ugalde, Former President, Mexican Federal Electoral Institute; Director General, Integralia
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

"These elections could mark a critical turning point where our democracy either strengthens or weakens significantly," said Luis Carlos Ugalde, founder and director general of political risk firm Integralia. The former president of Mexico's electoral agency emphasized the implications of Mexico's June 2 elections on the country's evolving political scene in a Democracy Dialogues interview with AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth

In his remarks, Ugalde stressed the importance of the role of electoral institutions like INE to the integrity of elections. The INE has been recently challenged by attempts to remove its autonomy and disempower it.

Ugalde also touched on the threat of political violence to democracy. "Violence against candidates has escalated, influenced by organized crime groups that aim to control local governments," he said. 

For Ugalde, vigilance and active citizen participation are needed to safeguard Mexico's democracy: "We must be proactive to ensure that our democratic processes are not undermined by internal or external pressures. It's about protecting the very essence of our public and political freedoms."

"I could say that this is the most relevant election, not because of who is going to be our next president," he continued. "But because what is at the table is the possibility that our constitution is amended in very important ways."

The conversation also touched on the broader implications of these elections for Mexico's bilateral relationship with the United States. Ugalde suggested that "U.S.-Mexico relations will largely depend on the political developments in both countries," indicating that the two electoral outcomes will affect key issues like trade and migration. 

Democracy Dialogues is a series of conversations we need to be having now on the state of democracy in the Americas. Hosted by Eric Farnsworth, these one-on-one interviews with leading democracy practitioners explore the most difficult issues of regional democratic governance with an eye toward pragmatic, well-calibrated solutions.

Past featured guests have included Colombia's then-President Iván Duque, NBA Basketball Star Enes Kanter Freedom, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, CubaDecide founder Rosa María Payá, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly Brian Winter, and founder and Editor of Nicaragua's Confidencial Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

Follow the conversation: #DemocracyDialogues | @ASCOA

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