Mid-term elections in Mexico, July 5

Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 01:05 pm
Mexico is having mid-term elections next sunday.

The Chamber of Representatives will change, federally.
We have 6 governor races.
In Mexico City, a new local Assembly, and new delegates (vice-mayors) will be elected.
In several states, mayors will be elected.

The contending parties:
PAN (conservatives), in power.
PRI ("nationalists" who had control of the government from 1929-2000)
PRD (center-left, with a populist chavista-style wing)
PVEM ("greens", actually extreme right)
PT (left, populist-chavista)
Convergencia (center-left, associated with PT)
PANAL (ideologically undefined, controlled by the Teachers Union leader)
PSD (socialdemocrat with a libertarian accent)
Plus there's a growing "none of the above" movement, the "anulistas".

All polls have PRI leading PAN nation-wide (from 37-32 to 34-32), PRD in third place (from 13 to 19%), PVEM and PT fighting for 4th place (from 4 to 8%), and the 3 remaining parties barely hanging to the 2% minimum to reach Congress, or not hanging at all, according to some polls.

The PRI surge has come as a result of : a) the economic crisis, first described as "a small cold" we got from our neighbor USA and now an unemployment pneumonia; b) the sense that the conservatives are as corrupt and cronie-prone as the old PRI, only less inteligent and able; c) some social disagreement with the government's "direct confrontation" antidrug strategy. PRI played low-key during the campaign.
PAN's campaign strategy was to tell the people "either you are with the President and his fight against drug lords or you are an accomplice, like the priistas", and to avoid all economic issues.
PRD is bitterly divided in two tribes: the center-left "dialoguists" and the populist hard-liners who still follow former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The party lost credibility since AMLO made it clear he's no democrat, and it diddn't matter much that the formal head of PRD actually won the electoral TV debate.
PVEM made an aggressive campaign in favor of the death penalty and indirect forms of education and health-care privatization, and against abortion.
PT is where most of the hardest-line AMLO followers landed. AMLO campaigned heavily in favor of PT, even against threats to expell him from PRD.
Convergencia is at the coat-tails of AMLO, PANAL depends on how much do teachers show at the polls, PSD -being the most heterodox, and moving only in the civic liberties rail- is being hurt the most by the "anulista" movement, which expresses a growing sense of being fed-up by a "partytocracy".

Will come with more later (and some results on Sunday-Monday)

Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 01:45 pm
Interesting. It is not a story being covered in the U.S.
So, is the Chamber of Representatives roughly equivalent to the U.S. Congress?
If so, and with these being mid-term elections, is there a chance that there will be a meaningful shift in the balance of power? Or is it rather more of a mid-term referendum on the effectiveness of the current administration?
About the only thing we hear about is the drug thing: authorities vs cartels and cartels vs cartels. Violent stuff.
I have read a few articles about the state of the oil industry, with the suggestion being made that what should be an economic boon being allowed to rust away.
I look forward to your commentary in the coming days. Thanks -- John
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 01:54 pm
What I've read is that the "Voto Nulo"-'party' will be the largest.

Deutsche Welle headlined: 'Will Mexico become a second Columbia?'.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:07 pm
As in the US, we have a bicameral Congress, Congreso de la Unión.

Senators are elected every six years; Deputies (rappresentatives), every three years. There's no reelection, so there's no incumbent, but "incumbent party".

No party has the majority in any of the Chambers. PAN has now the plurality, it seems certain that it will lose it to PRI.
The Lower Chamber has 500 rappresentatives. 300 are elected US style: winner takes all; 200 are elected European style, proportionally to the total valid vote, with several provisos to prevent extreme over-reppresentation for the bigger parties.

The present composition of the Chamber of Deputies is:
PAN 206
PRD 127
PRI 103
Convergencia 17
PT 16

So big alliances must be made in order to pass a law, or a lot of discussion turns into -usually soft- laws by consensus (minus the AMLOists).

In 1997 there was an important shift of power. In 2003 it was a bit like today (minus the "anulista" movement).

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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:13 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter, if the null votes reach 10%, they would have claimed a huge victory. They'll probably be around 5%, which is still a lot.
And abstentionism will be at record numbers. Perhaps 60%.

I toyed with the idea of annulling my vote for the first time since 1973, but then came the "movement", and at least part of the movement is motored by the TV networks, who are angry at the new electoral law, which forbids them to sell spots to parties. I don't want a Mexican Berlusconi, be him a tycoon or a puppett of media tycoons.

The problem with the "anulista" movement is that it has so many facets. Many messages become a confusing message.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:15 pm
Excellent, fbaezer, thanks for the breakdown. I knew about the Institutional Revolutionary Party, and it's long hold on power, but i confess that i was more than 10 years out of date. It's good to get a precise cast of characters, and a run down on the current standings.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:30 pm

Speaking of Mexico...

Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:43 pm
i thought calderone would be a much more dynamic presidente. do you think this is more or less a reaction to his presidency, or is he seen as above it all and it;s down to the governors?
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 03:42 pm
Following along..

wondering about the relative impact of a backlash to the government/drug lord confrontations and their violence..
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 04:22 pm
It is more a take about Calderón's government in general. IMO, if there was a real alternative, PAN would have suffered a bigger setback.
Between PAN and PRI is like between a rock and a hard place. But PRD is no alternative, given their eternal internal bickering and AMLO's influence. Hence the surge of the "none of the above" tendency.

As for the governor races. Nuevo León (Monterrey) is the most important, PRI will keep it; San Luis Potosí is for PAN to lose; a recent tragedy in Sonora may blow away the chances for PRI to keep it; PAN will keep Querétaro, PRI will keep Colima and Campeche.

Drug-related violence may be the top Mexican news in the US, but the economic crisis is the main problem according to a majority of Mexicans. According to polls, those who think security as the biggest problem tend to vote PAN (Calderón's war on drugs) or PVEM (death penalty); those who think that the economy is the biggest problem tend to vote for the other parties.

Oh, H20, since you're interested in other subjects, did you know that poor Parkita and Espectrito -the midget wrestlers killed by prostitutes- were twin brothers? Born and dead on the same day.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 04:41 pm
"Drug-related violence may be the top Mexican news in the US, but the economic crisis is the main problem according to a majority of Mexicans. According to polls, those who think security as the biggest problem tend to vote PAN (Calderón's war on drugs) or PVEM (death penalty); those who think that the economy is the biggest problem tend to vote for the other parties."
Makes sense, thanks.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 05:56 pm
I've been seeing the election advertisements on Televisa. I saw the PVEM spot, and thought, "that's cool, a green party in Mexico." I was taken aback when you said they were right-wing. They sound like American conservatives in regard to the privatization of social services, their anti-abortion stance, and their support for a death penalty in Mexico. What do you mean by indirect forms of education that they support? So, how are they green?
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 06:36 pm
They were originally a small Green party, but it was not democratic inside, rather more like a monarchy, and the son, "El Niño Verde", succeded the father, who was somehow an ecologist supporter, as party leader.
Now it's a party lead by rich "kids" in their late 30s, the "Green Boy" and his cronies.
They have been very shrewd in selling their support to big party candidates (with the father, they supported Fox; with the son, they supported Madrazo, and PRI). Now they have an unholy alliance with the big networks with a totally right wing agenda:
-Death penalty for homicide and kidnapping.
-Constitutional amendment to state life starts at conception.
-The government to give school vouchers, so people can send their children to private schools "so they can learn English and computing".
-The government to give medical vouchers, to be exchanged at drugstores, instead of giving directly the medicine for free.
-Unlimited access of parties to television spots (they -the fake Greens- have circunvented the law by having magazines property of Televisa announce and praise their proposals).

They have been expelled from the international Green Parties association. They are the closest thing to Berlusconi's Forza Italia you can imagine.
A few weeks ago I wrote that, the way Mexicans parties behave, there should be an "against" vote instead of a "for" vote, and that I'd certainly would cast my "against" vote against PVEM, the so-called Greens. They make me vomit.
Reply Sat 4 Jul, 2009 12:24 am
Fascinating fbaezer, thank you.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 4 Jul, 2009 01:03 am
There has been a report about the Mexican 'Greens' in the LATimes recently.

LA Times report

And this is an article from today's Guardian
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Reply Sat 4 Jul, 2009 01:04 pm
Oh, and a "Green" Senator was caught thursday night at a minor airport with 1.1 million pesos cash (about 80,000 US dollars) in a Louis Vuitton briefcase. He denied it first, then said there was no money inside, then that it was an aide's, who had sold his house...
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Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 04:45 pm
Few people at the polls, today. Even if it didn't rain.
Pollsters are talking (privately) of a PRI landslide.
Will come bak later.
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Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 09:04 pm
Partial results, with a bit over 30% of prescincts.

PRI: 35.4%
PAN: 26.8%
PRD: 12.2%
PVEM: 7.4%
PT: 4.2%
PANAL: 3.5%
Convergencia: 2.5%
PSD: 1.2%
Null votes: 6.6%

State elections:
PRI repeats in Colima, Campeche, Nuevo León
PRI defeats incumbent PAN in San Luis Potosí, Querétaro
Too close to call in Sonora (PRI incumbent)

Big blow for Calderón.
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Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 11:27 pm
69% of prescincts, not counting 6% null votes:

PRI: 38.3%
PAN: 29.1%
PRD: 13.0%
PVEM: 7.7%
PT: 4.3%
PANAL: 3.7%
Convergencia: 2.7%
PSD: 1.3%

It seems to have been also a huge loss for PRD, not to speak about PSD, who becomes a regional Mexico City party.

Will comment about Mexico City voting ("the most sophisticate voters in the world") tomorrow.
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:02 am
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