POLITICS

Mexico picks new ambassador to the U.S. after five-month vacancy

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  People fly the flags of Mexican and the US near City Hall (R) during a rally on what is dubbed a "Day Without Immigrants" or the "Great American Boycott" day on May 1, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Immigrants and their supporters around the nation are rallying together through marches and demonstrations, along with boycotting work and spending, in a consolidated effort to show their importance throughout American society as the ongoing political debate on immigration reform continues.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: People fly the flags of Mexican and the US near City Hall (R) during a rally on what is dubbed a "Day Without Immigrants" or the "Great American Boycott" day on May 1, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Immigrants and their supporters around the nation are rallying together through marches and demonstrations, along with boycotting work and spending, in a consolidated effort to show their importance throughout American society as the ongoing political debate on immigration reform continues. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)  (2006 Getty Images)

Mexico said Tuesday it has chosen a U.S.-based Mexican academic as its new ambassador to Washington, filling a key diplomatic post left vacant for five months.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said the new ambassador will be Miguel Basanez, who is currently an adjunct professor at Tufts University's Fletcher School.

The ambassadorship to Mexico's most important trade and investment partner had been vacant since former Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora was nominated to Mexico's Supreme Court in March.

Analysts had questioned why Mexico left the post vacant so long. About 11.4 million Mexican-born people live in the United States and about 1 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico according to the department.

The department said Basanez plans to "promote the empowerment of the Mexican community" in the United States.

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Basanez is an expert on opinion polling who did much of his post-graduate education at British universities.

According to his Fletcher School academic profile, Basanez "assisted in the expansion of democracy in México through the introduction of opinion polling for elections in 1985." Until then, opinion polls were little-used and seldom trusted, and the country had been ruled for over 55 years by the Institutional Revolutionary Party. The PRI, as the party is known, lost the presidency in 2000 and regained it in 2012.

Basanez also worked for PRI governments before going to the United States to continue his academic career.

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