This guide will no longer be updated, as it was a special project about the 2015 Mexican midterm elections. It will, however, remain available for research purposes.
As we wrote here, the midterm election pointed out to some likely unexpected results. Those results finally materialized and provided interesting surprises.
Undoubtedly, the best news was the electoral turnout, despite the threats of violence, boycott, abstention and rallies for “ballot annulling”. With 47% of the voters list showing up, it was the busiest midterm election since 1997. At State level, turnout surpassed an astonishing 60% in Nuevo León. Clearly, people opted for a democratic way to reject violence and provocation.
Interestingly, the percentage of invalid ballots (4.78%) was smaller than in 2009 (5.3%) defeating the “anulista” movement call to waste the whole electoral process. And surprises went even farther:
- The victories of the “independent” candidates, or more accurately “no party candidates”. The cases of Pedro Kumamoto (local representative in Jalisco), Manuel Clouthier (Congressman from Sinaloa), César Valdez (mayor in Nuevo León), Alfonso Martínez (mayor in Michoacán) and the rising star Jaime Rodriguez Calderón, a.k.a “Bronco”, elected governor of prosperous northern State of Nuevo León.
- The punishment vote and alternation. Five states switched from political colors, as voters punished serious corruption allegations against PAN governor Guillermo Padrés of Sonora and PRI´s governor Rodrigo Medina in Nuevo León. Or as a reaction to blatant abandonment as was the case of PRD in Guerrero and PRI in Michoacán. Finally but on a separate file, the enigmatic loss of PRI´s highly rated administration of Gov. José Calzada in central State of Queretaro, probably due more to an unconvincing campaign by the official candidate or to the decision of a more sophisticated electorate.
- Mexico City entering the multi-party system, as voters chose to end18 years of left wing PRD hegemony in the federal district. The party will retain 6 of 16 “delegaciones” (municipalities), while newcomer Morena wins 5, PRI gets 3 and PAN 2. In local Congress elections, Lopez Obrador´s new party Morena gives an outstanding performance wresting the majority of seats forcing down the PRD to second place and right wing PAN to third.
- Nationwide, Morena enters the stage as the fourth political force, displacing the green party PVEM. Surely a strong platform for Lopez Obrador´s 2018 presidential ambitions, but that could also prove insufficient to the task.
- The three major parties end up losing votes (PRD in a lesser proportion, by the way) but keep the 2012 ranking in Congress, conveying an implicit endorsement to the Pacto por México.
As anticipated, PRI´s victory (along with its allies the Green Party PVEM and the Teachers´ Union Party PANAL) reversed the trend set by the three previous midterm elections where the ruling party lost majority in Congress.
What they make of this victory will give abundant material for further discussion.
* Lawyer and political analyst. Journalist in the newspaper El Economista and TV presenter in Canal del Congreso and AprendeTV in Mexico.
What long term political trends were revealed through the results of Mexico’s recent elections? While the ruling party did maintain control as expected, Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood tells us that there were still surprises in the details of the results. And some of those surprises go beyond the unexpected victory of the independent candidate known as “El Bronco.” That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.
6/11/2015 by Victoria Dagli
25 year-old Pedro Kumamoto made history this past Sunday, June 7, 2015, by becoming the first independent candidate to ever win a legislative position in the State of Jalisco. Kumamoto believes that it is the citizens, and not the political parties, who should be at the center of a democracy. For this reason, he decided to run as an independent candidate and challenge the traditional way of making successful politics in Mexico:
– With less than $500 USD to fund his pre-campaign, he managed to gather more than the 2% of signatures required by law to establish himself as a legitimate candidate.
– With only $1,193 USD of funding provided by the Government, in comparison to the millions of dollars that political parties generally get, he managed to push forward a political campaign and successfully win the election.
– Instead of relying on large amounts of funding like traditional parties do, Kumamoto focused his efforts on designing and implementing a political campaign based on the use of free tools, such as social media and word of mouth, that managed to create a unique and powerful grassroots movement.
– Kumamoto was also the first candidate in Mexico to make publicly available his fiscal documents (declaración patrimonial) after the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness proposed a law to force all candidates to do so.
Kumamoto rose from a society that has become increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional political parties that have always dominated Mexico. Representing one of the wealthiest districts of Guadalajara’s metropolitan area, he broke the historical association that the wealthier classes had for the PRI and the PAN. Increasing violence and insecurity in a State that used to be one of the safest in the country have encouraged Jalisco’s citizens to actively unite under the leadership of other citizens, rather than depending on the proposals and solutions that traditional parties have repeatedly failed to materialize. Kumamoto’s victory portrays not only a win but also the start of a new movement that has begun to take place in Mexico, where independent leaders such as himself and el Bronco are starting to emerge and gain the electorate’s trust and vote. Should this trend continue to grow, it will become of great interest to see how other new faces emerge and compete against candidates from traditional parties during the 2018 Presidential Elections.
Photo: Facebook user- Pedro Kumamoto
06/09/15 El Universal
Washington. – Un dia despues de las elecciones en Nuevo Leon, que trajeron consigo el triunfo de Jaime Rodriguez, mejor conocido como El Brono, y la normalidad relativa en el resto del pais, analistas de Estados Unidos coincidieron en que el desempeno del PRI y el comportamiento desigual de los otros partidos en las urnas no puede cosiderarse una victoria sin palativos, sino un voto de castigo a la clase politica.
“El presidente Enrique Pena Nieto parece haber logrado su meta de tener una mayoria en el Congreso, en coalicion. Pero en realidad los ciudadanos emitieron un voto de castigo a todos los partidos, dando poco mas de una cuarta parte de su apoyo al partido gobernante y, aun menos, a los demas partidos”, cosidero Andrew Selee, vicepresidente ejecutivo del Centro Woodrow Wilson.
6/5/15 Wall Street Journal
Mexico’s midterm elections Sunday are shaping up as a referendum on President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose early popularity for passing ambitious measures to lift the economy has been undercut by a resurgence in gang violence and corruption scandals.
Most pre-election polls suggest the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, with the help of coalition partners, could retain its scant majority in the 500-seat lower house of Congress. But polls also show Mr. Peña Nieto’s party faces strong challenges in seven of nine state governorships at stake.
6/8/15 The New York Times
A cussing rancher known as El Bronco, who made the first serious run for governor as an independent candidate in Mexico, trounced his competition in midterm elections, according to preliminary official results on Monday, in a race closely watched as a sign of voter frustration with entrenched, established parties often seen as ineffectual and corrupt.
The candidate, Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, running for governor of Nuevo León State, a business and industrial hub near the Texas border, received 49 percent of the vote. He defeated his closest rival, a candidate from the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI, by 25 percentage points.