In this interview, José Luis Mendez describes the Office of the Presidency’s changing roles under various Mexican presidents, from Vicente Fox to Enrique Peña Nieto. He explains how the office gained power under certain leaders, such as President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, but became less significant under others, including President Ernesto Zedillo. Mendez also applies the leadership models of competitive uncertainty and cooperative certainty to analyze and compare these administrations’ reform efforts. He also explains how Mexican civil service law has affected administrative restructuring. Finally, he discusses the transition to the Peña Nieto administration from President Felipe Calderón’s administration and notes its relative smoothness compared to the transition from Fox to Calderón.
At the time of this interview, José Luis Mendez was a professor in the College of Mexico’s International Affairs department. Previously, he had worked as the Chief of the Unit of Analysis of the Presidency in President Fox’s Office of the Presidency, where he oversaw the strategic analysis of policy issues and coordinated speechwriting for the President. He has published several articles regarding administrative reform in the Mexican government.