Mexico 2012: A Conversation With Former-Baja California Governor Ernesto Ruffo

The Mexican 2012 Elections:  As part of a series on Mexico's 2012 presidential elections, the Trans-Border Institute is pleased to host a conversation with former-PAN governor and current Mexican Senate candidate Ernesto Ruffo Appel, who is a member of Vasquez Mota's campaign team.

Every 12 years, Mexico and the United States hold simultaneous presidential elections, making 2012 a momentous year for both countries. The July 2012 presidential elections in Mexico will almost assuredly be a referendum on the legacy of over twelve years of rule by the National Action Party (PAN). In 2000, PAN candidate Vicente Fox Quesada achieved the first recognized victory in a presidential election against the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. Six years later, Mr. Fox was replaced by PAN candidate Felipe Calderón, who won an extremely narrow and divisive race against leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Since taking office in December 2006, Mr. Calderón has governed amid the world's worst economic crisis since the 1930s and an intense fight against violent drug trafficking organizations. In part due to frustration with these challenges, many Mexican voters appear poised to vote to restore the PRI to the presidency in the coming year. Polls strongly support the PRI's presidential candidate, former-Mexico state governor Enrique Peña Nieto, who leads the PAN's first female candidate, Josefina Vasquez Mota, and return PRD candidate López Obrador.

Biography for Ernesto Ruffo Appel: Widely regarded as a pivotal figure in the development of democratic competition in Mexico, Ernesto Ruffo Appel became governor of Baja California in 1989, and the first opposition party governor in Mexico since 1929.  Prior to this, Ruffo had been businessman from the local fishing industry of Ensenada. He joined the National Action Party (PAN) in 1982 and was elected mayor of Ensenada in 1986, winning his party's first recognized victory in Baja California. Ruffo's gubernatorial campaign paved the way for other PAN gains in Baja California and other states during the 1990s, and eventually helped set the stage for his party's first presidential electoral victory in 2000. As governor of his state, Ruffo introduced the country's first tamper proof voter identification cards and a state-wide system for electoral oversight that became the model for the country's National Electoral Institute. After his governorship, Ruffo served as Commissioner for Northern Border Affairs from 2001-2004 under President Vicente Fox Quesada. Currently, he is a candidate for the Mexican Senate, as well as a member of the campaign team for PAN presidential candidate Josefina Vasquez Mota.

Ernesto Ruffo will speak at theatre of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego at 5:30 p.m. on March 15, 2012 at no charge to the general public. To RSVP or to obtain additional information, please contact or call (619) 260-4148.  

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.