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