Mexico Elections: To Vote or Not to Vote

By Mexico Voices, 03/26/15

This was a column originally published in Reforma: José Woldenberg – Translated by Mexico Voices

A halo of weariness and malaise accompanies the electoral process. A sentiment of satiety and distance about the primaries plays out with force. As if the proceedings were exhausted, as if they weren’t significant. This is not the only dynamic on the stage; many microclimate moods live in Mexico. But among more than a few groups there seems to be a coalescence of annoyance with politics, politicians and the institutions that make democracy possible (parties, congresses, governments) that’s reproduced and amplified by the media, who are the echoes and loudspeakers for this bad social humor.

(It’s necessary, nevertheless, to open a parenthesis. The disenchantment exists, is present and seems expansive; but Mexico is many Mexicos and we often confuse the capital’s state of mind, say, with what happens in the rest of the nation and believe what appears in the media is an accurate barometer of public opinion, and it’s not.)

This is a major change. A significant break. During a long period, the elections not only awakened enthusiasm, participation and dramatic tension, but also authentic hope. From 1979 (the first elections after political reform [allowing parties other than PRI to run candidates for office]) until 2012 (with the very clear warning of 2009, when relevant academics and journalist called for annulling the vote), the elections were seen as a key to significant change. And they were.

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