Tomorrow's presidential election presents the world's largestsSpanish-speaking country with a choice now increasingly familiar in Latin America: between a nationalist leftist and a champion of the free market.
Holding a narrow lead in opinion polls is popular former mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
Following close behind is Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN). Incumbent Vicente Fox cannot run for a second six-year term according to Mexico's constitution.
Fox's victory in 2000 broke the 71-year-old hold the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had on Mexico's presidency. However, his promises of market reforms have left many disappointed, with the continuing trek of up to 40,000 workers migrating north every year seen as a symbol of Mexico's failure to create more opportunities at home.
PRI candidate Roberto Madrazo is running a distant third in early polls.
With the increasing flow of goods sparked by the North American Free Trade Agreement, both candidates say they are looking for greater US and Canadian involvement in Mexico's economic development.
Calderon wants to reach an accord with the US and Canada on increased direct investment in infrastructure and development of those Mexican regions from which the most people migrate.
"The important thing is to avoid that labour goes where there is investment. We have to see to it that investment goes to where there is labor," says the 43-year-old former energy minister.
Lopez Obrador, is unlikely to tamper with the ongoing marriage of convenience with the US, though he and others are closely watching US immigration developments which could offer the illegal residents of the more than 11 million Mexican immigrants in the US a path to citizenship.
"We will convince US authorities that the best policy is not the construction of walls but cooperation in development," says Lopez Obrador, who said he believes the creation of jobs in Mexico is the only way to control immigration.
"The best foreign policy is domestic policy," said the 52-year-old, who has no passport, does not speak English, and has not left Mexico in more than a decade.
The leftist candidate has signaled that there is much to do within Mexico, and that he will not be interested in roaming the world for a "diplomatic vacation."
"We will not interfere in the internal life of other cities and other governments, because we will not permit them to interfere in affairs that only concern Mexicans," he says. "The next Mexican president will not be a puppet of any foreign government."
Rivals have attempted to compare Lopez Obrador to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but it is unlikely that he would adopt a stance as overtly hostile to Mexico's chief trading partner and close neighbor.
Lopez Obrador chooses to compare himself to the world's more moderate leftist leaders, such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Spain's Social Democratic Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He has also had high praise for Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner.
Calderon is likely to follow in Fox's precedent in giving Mexico a greater presence in international forums and push for a greater leadership role in Latin America.
"I would like to see more of the world in Mexico, and more of Mexico in the world as well," says Calderon. "Because I want us to reassume our country's leadership role in multilateral forums and in all the regions of the world, starting with Latin America."