Amid the political firestorm over Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections here in the United States, it may have been easy to overlook the steady drip of warnings about a possible replay of Russian mischief-making right next door in Mexico. Back in December, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster spoke ominously about “initial signs” of a trademark campaign of subversion, disinformation, and propaganda, ahead of Mexico’s presidential elections on July 1. One month later at a press conference in Mexico City on February 1, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked about evidence of Russian election interference. He had this advice to offer to Mexican officials: “Pay attention. Pay attention to what’s happening.”
Articles about voting issues in the United Mexican States.
Mexico: Presidential campaign takes shape, with 3 candidates formally accepting party nominations | Associated Press
Three presidential candidates formally accepted the nominations of Mexico’s main political parties on Sunday, entering what is shaping up to be a crowded, six-person race to the July 1 election. In dueling rallies in the capital, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Ricardo Anaya and Jose Antonio Meade addressed key domestic issues such as violence, corruption and the economy, and also relations with the United States. Lopez Obrador of the leftist Morena party, the early front-runner in what is his third bid for the presidency, proposed to tackle insecurity by creating a federal public security department and a national guard incorporating both police and military forces. “Those who violate human rights will be rigorously punished,” he said, in allusion to abuses by Mexican security forces. “There will be no torture in our country.”
The National Indigenous Congress’ anti-capitalist, feminist and Indigenous candidate will most likely not make it to the ballots. Feb. 18 marks the deadline for gathering enough signatures to be registered as an independent candidate in Mexico. As of now, just a few of them will appear on the ballots. This is the first time Mexico is allowing independent candidates for the presidential elections, and the registering process proved to be discriminatory in more than one way. Of a total of six women and 34 men registered as aspiring independent candidates for the 2018 presidential elections, only three of them –Jaime Rodriguez “El Bronco,” Margarita Zavala and Armando Rios Piter – will be eligible.
Mexico: Tillerson and Democrats agree that Russia will try to influence Mexico’s elections with fake news | Miami Herald
Trump administration officials and Democrats in Congress cannot agree on almost anything, but they are increasingly voicing the same concern when it comes to Latin America: Russia will try to influence the upcoming elections in Mexico, Colombia and other countries in the region. After returning from a five-country Latin American tour, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday: “We see some of Russia’s fingerprints around elections that have occurred in Europe. … We are seeing similar activity in this hemisphere.” He added, “There are a number of important elections in this hemisphere this year.” Tillerson did not cite any specific Latin American country, but Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland — a leading member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — told me in an interview Wednesday that he has no doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin will try to interfere in this year’s elections in Mexico and Colombia.
Mexico: Rubio, Menendez express concern about Russian influence in Mexican election to Tillerson | CBS
President Trump may have declined to criticize Russia for interfering in the U.S. and other elections around the world — but now, amid reports that Russia may be meddling in Latin American elections, too, two bipartisan senators are asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to raise this very issue when he travels to Mexico and Latin America later this week. “We write to urge you to raise the importance of strong, independent electoral systems in Mexico and Latin America more broadly,” write Senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Senator Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, wrote in a letter to Tillerson. “We are increasingly concerned about growing efforts to undermine these hard-fought and widely supported advances, particularly those emanating from outside the region.”
Next July 2018, Mexico will elect over 3000 public posts all over the country, including a new president, members of the Congress, local officials and several state governors. The result of such election will be determinant in Mexico’s future for years to come as it remains unclear which direction the country will take not only domestically, but also regionally and internationally. The so-called leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been the clear front runner of the contested election for several months. This should not come as a surprise as Mexico’s political environment is facing a perplexed field of presidential candidates: José Antonio Meade, the PRI’s candidate, is a well-seasoned public servant with ample experience in public administration, but a very clumsy campaigner that has the difficult task of defending the dire legacy of the incumbent president, Enrique Peña Nieto; Ricardo Anaya, the third candidate is running on a brittle right-left coalition that has been struggling to find its sense of direction.
The Russian government has launched a sophisticated campaign to influence Mexico’s 2018 presidential election and stir up division, a senior White House official said in a video clip published by Mexican newspaper Reforma. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in a speech last month to the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation that there was already evidence of Russian meddling in Mexican elections set for July. “We’ve seen that this is really a sophisticated effort to polarize democratic societies and pit communities within those societies against each other,” said McMaster in a previously unreported video clip from Dec. 15 that was posted on Twitter by a reporter with Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Saturday.
In election in Mexico widely seen a test of political sentiment for next year’s presidential run-off will likely head to the court. The race for governor in the State of Mexico was largely a contest between the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has held on to its seat for about 90 years. While a count of nearly all the votes gives the PRI candidate a narrow three-point lead, widespread accusations of voter fraud and intimidation have called the results into question. For now, both candidates are claiming victory.
A hotly contested state election in Mexico is heading to court after the president’s cousin was declared the victor amid widespread allegations of voter intimidation, vote buying and misuse of public resources. Alfredo del Mazo Maza, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), was declared the winner after early results in the state of Mexico gave him a two-point lead over Delfina Gómez of the leftwing National Regeneration party (Morena). But with the vote so close, Morena – led by the populist firebrand Andres Manuel López Obrador– is refusing to accept the initial results. The full count will not be completed before 7 June, after which Morena will almost certainly seek that the election be annulled.
Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) limped to victory in a key state election on Sunday, according to preliminary projections of results that were quickly challenged by the leftist party beaten into second place. The party, however, was heading for a loss in one state and struggling in another. The putative win in the State of Mexico was a close call for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s PRI, which has governed it for nearly nine decades. It will not end the aspirations of leftists led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an early favorite for next year’s presidential race. Despite its apparent victory against a party that was only founded three years ago, the PRI still has to battle widespread anger at corruption and rising violent crime under Pena Nieto as the countdown starts for the July 2018 presidential election.