Tag Archives: Gubernatorial Races

A Fragmented Political Landscape

Andrew SeleeBy Andrew Selee

It’s too early to know the full impact of yesterday’s elections in Mexico, but there is no question that these were far more momentous than midterm elections usually are, with profound short-term and long-term consequences for the future of Mexico’s political system.  Here are four quick takeaways on the implications of the results:

* The political landscape in Mexico is now more fragmented than ever before with no single party towering over the others.  Mexico has long been a political system based on three strong parties and a few smaller ones.  Now there are at least five, if not more, that appear to have a significant base of support.  The victory of an independent candidate in Nuevo Leon, Mexico’s most economically important state, sets a very important precedent that will decentralize the political system even more in the future and allow citizens to organize outside the traditional parties.

* It was a mixed night for President Enrique Pena Nieto and the PRI.  Although the PRI appears to have won the largest number of votes for Congress and state governors, the party won less than 30 percent of the vote, appears to have lost a few crucial governors’ races that it had expected to win (Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, and Michoacan), and will have to piece together a working majority in the Congress with the Green Party, the New Alliance Party, and perhaps a few others on key votes.  Of course, it’s not unusual for the incumbent party to lose ground in the midterm elections (this is the fourth straight time it’s happened), but the PRI seemed to be in a particularly strong position going into this election and expected to do much better.  This election is hardly a repudiation of Pena Nieto’s government — which will likely be able to move forward with its reform agenda in Congress — but it’s certainly not a ringing endorsement either.

* The PAN came in as the second strongest party, though it received only a fifth of the votes, and the left divided like never before among various parties.  Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s party, Morena, made a very respectable showing against the PRD, probably winning five of Mexico City’s delegations (municipalities) and presenting a strong challenge to the PRD in the bastion of the left.

* The elections were actually carried out in relative peace, despite attempts to disrupt them in three states in the south.  However, an unusually high number of voters (roughly five percent) appear to have left their ballots blank in protest against all of the political parties.

In the next few hours, we will know more about how the main parties ended up and who will govern each state, but clearly this is an election that has shaken the foundations of Mexico’s political system like few others.

Andrew Selee is the Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute.

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El Bronco: Blunt, Frequently Vulgar, and Aiming to Run Nuevo León

in  The New York Times 05/24/15

MONTERREY, Mexico — He goes by the nickname El Bronco, and he aims to buck the political system in Mexico.

For the first time since a constitutional change in Mexico in 2012 allowing independent candidates, one is making a serious run for governor. And the political world is eager to see if he upsets the entrenched order, not just in his state but also in a nation increasingly frustrated and exhausted by the status quo.

It also helps that the insurgent comes in the form of Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, 57, a cursing former mayor and rancher in cowboy hat and boots who wants to run Nuevo León, a large state along the Texas border that is a hub for big business as well as organized crime.

Mr. Rodríguez, in interviews and on the campaign trail, veers from humility to arrogance, calling himself a simple, unvarnished rancher while making it clear, over and over, that he has the fortitude — he uses an anatomically vulgar synonym — to set things right.

“We are about to make history,” he said in an interview on Thursday as he prepared for the final dash to the June 7 state and local elections. “We are about to prove to people that in this country you don’t need money or parties, you just need people to change things around.”

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New Candidate Jolts Mexican Politics

By Dudley Althaus in  The Wall Street Journal 05/22/15

MONTERREY, Mexico—A maverick former mayor known as El Bronco is mounting a competitive bid as Mexico’s first independent gubernatorial candidate, a sign of Mexican voters’ rancor toward the country’s traditional political parties.

Running a social media campaign waged on a shoestring—supporters press crumpled bills into his hands on the stump— Jaime Rodríguez is shaking up politics in Nuevo Leon, the conservative northern border state that includes the industrial powerhouse of Monterrey, and jolting politicians nationwide.

An opinion poll published Friday in El Norte, Monterrey’s leading newspaper, puts Mr. Rodríguez ahead of his rival from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in the June 7 vote. The PRI has ruled Nuevo Leon for 80 of the past 86 years.

Mr. Rodríguez’s unlikely bid has emerged as one of the most watched in a midterm vote that will replace all 500 members of Mexico’s lower house of Congress, nine governors and hundreds of state legislators, mayors and city councils. Polls suggest that the PRI and its allies are likely to retain a slight majority in Congress.

But that doesn’t mean all is well in Mexico for the ruling party. Mr. Rodríguez, a rancher, businessman and thrice married father of six, represents a new page in Mexican politics: the rise of independent candidates running against the traditional parties, something that was illegal until a 2014 political overhaul passed by congress.

“This is making the political parties tremble because a candidate without a party, a structure or resources is giving them a fight,” Mr. Rodríguez, 58, said in an interview.

June’s vote takes place amid mounting voter frustration with continued underworld violence, a lackluster economy, and corruption scandals that have hit all three major parties, especially the PRI. President Enrique Peña Nieto and his finance minister have come under scrutiny for property deals they made with government contractors. They both deny any wrongdoing. Civic groups have accused family members of Nuevo Leon’s current governor illicit enrichment through dirty land deals. They deny wrongdoing.

“We have a cancer which has to be eradicated and that’s corruption,” Mr. Rodríguez said to whoops and applause at a recent stop in Monterrey’s wealthiest suburb. “I don’t want to be just one more governor, I want to change the system.”

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Visit here to know more about the 2015 elections in Mexico.

Visit here to check the broadcast of our latest event on elections.