A maverick former mayor became Mexico’s first independent candidate to win a governor’s seat, riding a wave of voter anger against the country’s traditional political parties. The news from Sunday’s midterm elections wasn’t all bad for President Enrique Peña Nieto, however: His ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and its allies appeared likely to keep a slim majority in the lower house of Congress, according to early official results. The runaway victory of Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez in Nuevo León state, an industrial powerhouse and home to some of Mexico’s biggest corporations, could spark a wave of independent candidacies nationwide for the 2018 presidential vote, a development analysts said might threaten traditional political parties’ grip on power.
Mexico is not burning, the country’s Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio assured citizens last month in response to pre-election violence that saw at least three candidates murdered by mid-May. But flaming government buildings and a mounting body count have defied Osorio in the run-up to Sunday’s midterm elections, in which 500 congressional seats and nine governorships are at play. Since Osorio’s declaration, at least four more candidates from various political parties have been gunned down as dozens of criminal gangs coerce candidates in a battle to control local terrain and drug-trafficking routes. At least 20 additional candidates have been intimidated out of the running. The drug-fueled violence has coalesced in recent days with violent protests in Mexico’s southern states, as teachers opposed to education reform, joined by parents of the missing 43 students in Guerrero state, have blocked highways, sabotaged would-be voting stations and burned thousands of ballots. “These are the dirtiest elections since the advent of democracy in Mexico,” Raúl Benítez, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Reuters this week.
Independents are eligible to run in all states for the first time in June 7 elections. In the border state of Nuevo León, a candidate known as ‘El Bronco’ is energizing voters fed up with scandal-ridden parties. Standing next to a sign that counts down to June 7, Mexico’s election day, campaign worker Pablo Livas says he has been “wishing for another option” in politics for more than a decade. “We haven’t had the government we deserve,” he says. But today, a quick glance at Mr. Livas’s baseball cap reveals his new sense of hope. It reads simply: “I am El Bronco.” Mr. Livas is one of dozens of volunteers bustling around a former car dealership off a tree-lined square in Monterrey this week, intent on hawking Mexico’s newest model in political candidates: the independent.
Mexico’s conservative opposition retained the governor’s seat in Baja California after the ruling party candidate conceded defeat Saturday following a recount in the politically crucial state. The state bordering the United States was the biggest prize in the July 7 regional elections in 14 Mexican states, with analysts saying its result could sink or save a multi-party reform pact. The candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Fernando Castro Trenti, threw in the towel as the recount gave an edge to National Action Party (PAN) rival Francisco “Kiko” Vega.
Authorities began Wednesday to recount ballots in a key gubernatorial election in the Mexican state of Baja California after preliminary results were scrapped due to a technical glitch. The result of the election in the state, which borders the United States, could have an impact on national politics, with analysts saying that a defeat for the conservative National Action Party (PAN) may threaten a multi-party reform pact. Helga Casanova, spokeswoman for the Baja California Electoral Institute, told AFP that the recount may last until Sunday but that it could be completed before then.
The election for the prized post of governor of Baja California was thrown into disarray Monday, with both major candidates claiming victory and a preliminary vote count abruptly halted because of what authorities called a math error. The National Action Party, which has held the job since 1989, when it became the first party to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party in an election, was ahead by a few percentage points after polls closed Sunday night, officials said. But then, with about 97% of preliminary results tallied in a quick count by a private contractor, officials suddenly halted the count and said results would not be available until Wednesday. The officials cited a problem with algorithms. Some Mexicans smelled a rat. They recalled the notorious presidential election of 1988, when leftist candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas appeared to be defeating Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. At a certain point, the system conducting the ballot count had what authorities at the time claimed to be a mechanical failure. When the computers came back up, Salinas was declared the victor.
Mexican electoral officials Monday declared the preliminary results of a race for governor in Baja California invalid after the ruling party and the opposition both claimed victory in the politically pivotal state. The election in Baja California, which borders the United States, was the biggest prize in regional polls held in 14 states on Sunday after one of the most violent campaign seasons in recent years. Analysts say the result in the border state could affect a national political reform pact.
Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, winner of the July 1 presidential election, on Monday accused the leftist runner-up of exceeding spending limits and using illegal funds to finance his bid. The allegations were a tit-for-tat exchange after leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador challenged the 3.3 million-vote victory by the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto. Lopez Obrador alleges the PRI resorted to money laundering and vote-buying to win. PRI officials fired back on Monday, saying Lopez Obrador’s campaign spent 1.2 billion pesos ($88.65 million) more than was allowed in the presidential campaign.
At least 32,000 protesters marched through Mexico City on Sunday to protest the “imposition” of the new president. They accuse president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the old ruling party, of electoral fraud. Protesters have dubbed the country’s TV giant Televisa a “factory of lies.” Demonstrators marching through to capital claimed that Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the election by vote-buying and an aggressive PR campaign through major media outlets such as Televisa, which they claim was well paid for positive coverage of Nieto’s presidential campaign. Enrique Pena Nieto, 46, won the election with 38.2 per cent of the vote against 31.6 per cent for the leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Nieto’s victory brought the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to power after being in the opposition for 12 years. The ruling President Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party came in third. Opponents of the victorious candidate demanded urgent domestic reforms.
Thousands of protesters have been marching through the streets of Mexico City to protest against the official result of this month’s presidential election. The march was called by a new student movement, “Yo soy 132” (I am 132) which accuses the winner, Enrique Pena Nieto, of buying votes. They also say he arranged favourable coverage from main television network, Televisa. Mr Pena Nieto has rejected all charges. “No to fraud,” and “Out with Pena”, shouted the protesters in this latest march against the result of the 1 July vote. “Mexico wants a country that is honest and democratic,” protester Marlem Munoz told the AP news agency. The protest also attracted supporters of the runner up in the poll, left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has refused to accept the official result.
Leaders of the Mexican left called Friday for a peaceful popular mobilization to annul the July 1 presidential election amid allegations of vote-buying and other machinations by the victorious Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. “We are asking that the presidential election be invalidated because there are very serious violations of the constitution,” the leftist standard-bearer in the contest, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said at a press conference in Mexico City. “We will always act peacefully,” he said at the presentation of the National Plan for Defense of Democracy and the Dignity of Mexico.
The conservative National Action Party joined Mexico’s main leftist party Thursday in accusing the winner of the country’s July 1 presidential election of campaign wrongdoing, saying it has “strong and conclusive” evidence of the use of illicit funds. National Action leader Gustavo Madero said his party is demanding that electoral authorities investigate the purported use of pre-paid debit cards by apparent winner Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign to disburse an estimated 108 million pesos ($8.2 million) in funds. That alone would be about a third of all the money the candidate was legally allowed to use in the race. Pena Nieto of the old ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, won the election with about a 6.6 percentage-point lead over the second-place finisher, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. National Action and the Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party normally don’t agree on much, so Thursday’s joint news conference between Madero and Democratic Revolution leader Jesus Zambrano was a rare occurrence.
The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has filed a legal challenge to the result of the 1 July vote. He said he would prove that illicit money was used to buy votes and secure the victory of centrist candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, who denies this. Mr Lopez Obrador wants the result of the vote to be deemed invalid. Mr Pena Nieto was confirmed the winner on Friday after a final recount, with 38.21% to Mr Lopez Obrador’s 31.59%. Mr Lopez Obrador, from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), lodged the challenge to Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) just hours before the midnight filing deadline. “The purchase and manipulation of millions of votes cannot give certainty to any result nor to the overall electoral process,” he told reporters.
The media rewrites history every day, and in so doing it often impedes our understanding of the present. Mexico’s presidential election of a week ago is a case in point. Press reports tell us that Felipe Calderón, the outgoing president from the PAN (National Action Party) “won the 2006 election by a narrow margin.” But this is not quite true, and without knowing what actually happened in 2006, it is perhaps more difficult to understand the widespread skepticism of the Mexican people as to the results of the current election. The official results show Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Neto winning 38.2 percent of the vote, to 31.6 percent for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and 25.4 percent for Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN. It does not help that the current election has been marred by widespread reports of vote-buying.
Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday he will mount court challenges against the results of the July 1 election, claiming vote-buying and campaign overspending by the winner of official vote counts, Enrique Pena Nieto. The announcement comes amid rising calls to investigate what appears to have been the distribution of thousands of pre-paid gift cards to voters before the election, and allegations by Lopez Obrador’s supporters that some state government officials passed funds to Pena Nieto’s campaign effort. Lopez Obrador finished about 6.6 percentage points behind Pena Nieto of the old guard Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will file a formal legal challenge this week to the vote count in Mexico’s presidential election. The electoral authority issued final results Friday showing that former ruling party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won by a 6.6-percentage-point margin, almost exactly the same lead as a quick count gave him the night of the election. The final count, which included a ballot-by-ballot recount at more than half of polling places, showed Pena Nieto getting 38.21 percent of votes in Sunday’s election. Lopez Obrador got 31.59 percent.
Mexico’s electoral commission has declared centrist candidate Enrique Pena Nieto the winner of the presidential election. The announcement comes after a recount of more than half the ballots. Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has decisively won Mexico’s presidential election, after allegations of vote buying forced a recount of more than half the ballots. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) reported on Friday that Nieto had won 38.21 percent of the vote, while leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) came in second with 31.59 percent. Josefina Vazquez Mota of outgoing President Felipe Calderon’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) garnered 25.41 percent of the vote.
Mexican opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto maintained his lead in a final count from Sunday’s presidential election, confirming initial results published the night of the vote. With 92 percent of polling stations counted by Thursday morning, Pena Nieto held 38.4 percent of the vote, seven points ahead of the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, setting up a return to power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) expected to conclude the final vote count on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of results from the congressional elections is due. Preliminary results showed Pena Nieto claimed victory Sunday with some 38 percent of the vote, about 6.5 points clear of Lopez Obrador. Trailing in third was Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).
A recount on Thursday showed Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto as the clear winner of Sunday’s presidential election, but the runner-up still refused to concede, alleging Pena Nieto’s party bought millions of votes. The results set up a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, when it was frequently accused of vote-rigging. With 99 percent of polling stations counted or recounted, Pena Nieto held 38.2 percent of the vote, 6.7 points ahead of leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, expected to conclude the final recount later on Thursday and certify the results on Sunday, when an official count of the congressional elections was also due.
Electoral authorities in Mexico have initiated a recount of roughly half of the votes cast in the presidential election upon finding inconsistencies in the final results. The initial tally, accounting for 99 percent of the votes, was released Sunday, the day of the election, showing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the lead with roughly 38 percent of the votes, about six points ahead of runner-up and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Votes from about 78,000 of the 143,000 polling stations used in the election will be recounted. The results of the recount are expected to be ready by Sunday, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) spokeswoman Ana Fuentes told the Associated Press.
Mexico is recounting votes cast at more than half its polling places during Sunday’s presidential election, the electoral body said Wednesday, as reports of vote-buying marred the apparent win of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Ballots from more than 54% of polling places will be recounted within 72 hours, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) said. The figure marks a huge increase over the 9% of ballots that were recounted in the long and contentious aftermath of the disputed 2006 election. The recount began early Wednesday as part of the IFE’s normal procedure of validating results gathered from the institute’s 300 electoral districts. By law, ballots are recounted when a polling place shows irregularities, such as more votes cast than there are registered voters, a complete sweep by a single candidate or party, or a 1-percentage-point or smaller margin between first and second place. Separately, the PRI is facing growing accusations that campaigns gave potential voters supermarket debit cards in exchange for their votes, among other allegations.
Mexico’s presidential election runner-up, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Tuesday he would ask the country’s election authorities to recount the votes from Sunday’s contest, saying it was riddled with fraud. Lopez Obrador, who finished about 6.5 percentage points behind President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said the process had been corrupted by PRI vote buying and other abuses, and that his campaign would ask the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) to recount the votes.
Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) is poised to regain the power it lost 12 years ago after seven decades in charge of the country. The official quick count of a large sample of polling stations announced late on Sunday gave the PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, around 38% of the vote and a lead of around seven percentage points over his nearest rival. “This Sunday Mexico won”, Peña Nieto said at his party’s headquarters in the capital to the strains of a popular mariachi song, accompanied by his soap opera star wife and children. “Mexico voted for change with direction,” he added. During his speech, the slick, telegenic former governor of the country’s most populous state was at pains to address fears that the return of the PRI would mean a return to the periodic authoritarianism, corruption and corporatist hubris that had characterised the party’s political hegemony for most of the last century. “Mine will be a democratic presidency. We are a new generation and there will not be a return to the past,” he said. “In today’s plural and democratic Mexico everybody has a place.”
What is in an election? As Mexico gears up for Sunday’s presidential vote, much of the chatter has centred on the possible return of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) under Enrique Peña Nieto, its candidate and far-away favourite, according to opinion polls. And with little wonder: when the party finally lost power in 2000 after ruling for 71 consecutive years of pseudo democracy, many political analysts predicted that the party would shrivel and die as the country embraced a new, more pluralistic future. But let’s step back a moment from the constant questions of “will a PRI victory mean a return to the past?” and consider the political and economic stability that this election season offers investors compared with six years ago. Back then, investors were scrambling to put their business plans on hold as many doubted whether the centre-right Felipe Calderón could catch up with and overhaul the fiery front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the leftwing Democratic Revolution (PRD).
With signs shouting “No to repression!” and “Down with the PRI!” the angry students who have taken the streets of Mexico with flash protests have become the most visible face of youth in this election. They have challenged the presidential candidates to debates, urged others their age to pay attention to the campaign, and sought to fight off the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held power for 71 years until its ouster in 2000. The college students marching in the protests are among the most privileged of the 24 million young people registered to cast ballots on July 1. At the other end of the spectrum sit the majority of Mexico’s young who live in poverty, did not graduate from high school, and earn less than $10 a day. But unlike the elections of 2000, when a majority of young voters agreed that the PRI had to go, this election season has seen a sharp division among youth along class lines. Educated voters in this demographic are opposed to the return of the PRI, while the rest of the voters aged 18 to 29 prefer the candidacy of Enrique Pena Nieto over his two major rivals.
With presidential and local elections slightly more than two weeks away, violence _ some of it political, some of it part of a raging drug war _ is surging in Mexico, with candidates killed, journalists snatched and major arrests threatening to touch off a wave of reprisals. And in a sign of the profound corruption that a new president will face, a video released this week shows police officers marching men from a hotel in the middle of the night. The men turned up dead the next day, the police suspected of acting on orders from drug gangs. In the coastal state of Veracruz, the body of reporter Victor Baez was discovered early Thursday in the main plaza of the state capital, Xalapa, hours after gunmen intercepted him as he left his newsroom.
Only 12 years ago Mexican voters kicked out the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had ruled for seven decades through a mixture of consent, co-option, corruption and coercion. Vicente Fox, a former Coca-Cola salesman who defeated the PRI, brought high hopes that his country would match the economic promise of the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), between Mexico, the United States and Canada, with a correspondingly vibrant democracy. Yet unless the opinion polls are wildly wrong, Mexicans are about to vote the PRI back to power on July 1st, in the person of Enrique Peña Nieto. Aged 45, the telegenic Mr Peña cuts a seemingly fresh figure, with his team of bright technocrats from the world’s best universities. Yet he is a scion of the PRI’s most retrograde regional political machine. His allies include several old-fashioned caudillos, and his opponents say (though he denies) that he has engaged in old-fashioned practices, such as buying favourable television coverage (see article). Why is Mexico poised to take this apparently backward step? The answer starts with the disappointments of the past dozen years of rule by the conservative National Action Party (PAN), first under Mr Fox and then Felipe Calderón. Buffeted by Chinese competition and then by the American recession, the economy grew at an annual average rate of just 1.8% between 2000 and 2011. Poverty has edged up, not helped by the woes of the broader world economy. Lacking both a congressional majority and negotiating skills, neither president managed much in the way of structural reforms, leaving more or less intact the PRI’s legacy of public and private monopolies that stifle the economy and the education system. Mr Calderón chose to make security and battling powerful drug mafias the centrepiece of his presidency. Yet, with 60,000 dead, Mexicans are tiring of a “drug war” they at first supported.
With presidential and local elections slightly more than two weeks away, violence — some of it political, some of it part of a raging drug war — is surging in Mexico, with candidates killed, journalists snatched and major arrests threatening to touch off a wave of reprisals. And in a sign of the profound corruption that a new president will face, a video released this week shows police officers marching men from a hotel in the middle of the night. The men turned up dead the next day, and the police are suspected of acting on orders from drug gangs.
For seven decades, the Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico by hook or by crook, stuffing ballot boxes, massacring democracy protesters and bribing journalists into providing sycophantic coverage. When it finally lost a presidential election for the first time, in 2000, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin wall. But now the party, universally known in Mexico as PRI, its Spanish initials, is on the brink of a triumphant comeback, with its youthful candidate for July’s presidential polls, Enrique Peña Nieto, enjoying a consistent lead of around 20 points over his nearest challenger. In the race for congress, the PRI, buoyed by its alliance with Mexico’s controversial, death penalty-supporting Green party, is close to winning 50 per cent of the lower house. That would be the chamber’s first outright majority in some 15 years, giving Mr Peña Nieto, a 45-year-old former governor of the massive state of Mexico, which includes much of Mexico City, more power than any president has had since the early 1990s.