Tag Archives: Independent Candidates

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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Gubernatorial Elections in Mexico: The Polls

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

In this infographic, the Mexico Institute analyzes the published polls of some Mexican states holding gubernatorial elections in 2015. We highlight the top two candidates in the states, except in the case of Nuevo León, where we want to highlight the surprising rise of an independent candidate above the PAN’s candidate (click here to read our previous analysis on Nuevo León).

In general, the fight for governor in each state will end up being between two candidates or coalitions. The PAN is competitive in almost all of the gubernatorial races, but the PRD is strong in the southern region of the country. Furthermore, the PRI is competitive in all of the elections, either leading the preferences or coming in a close second.  In particular, in the states of Sonora, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Michoacán, the race will likely become more competitive as the campaigns continue. In the states of Colima, Guerrero, and Nuevo León, although the current leaders have a significant advantage, this may change due to the recent trend of the other top contenders. Finally, in Baja California Sur and Campeche, the leaders in the polls could strengthen their positions as the campaigns advance.

Polls- State level elections.001
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Mexico elections: The surreal list of candidates reads more like the line-up of a TV panel show – and the country’s long-suffering voters are not amused

By The Independent, 04/26/15

With a football legend, a famous clown, a former Big Brother contestant and several soap stars in the running, the list of candidates in Mexico’s forthcoming elections reads more like the line-up of a television panel show. But the emergence of these maverick contenders reflects a growing sense of disillusionment, which has been compounded by a high-profile movement to boycott the elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto, who has the lowest approval rating of any president in the past two decades, still has three years left in office, but there are more than 1,200 positions at stake in the mayoral and congressional contests to be decided on 7 June.

This is the first time independent candidates have been allowed to participate in Mexico, an unwelcome development for the three major parties that have been tarred by years of bloodshed. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed since 2006 and at least 23,000 have disappeared, including 43 students who were infamously abducted in southern Mexico last September.

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The electoral race for Nuevo León

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Nuevo León is the economic capital of Mexico’s industrial north. It is on the U.S.-Mexico border, accounts for 7.5% of Mexico’s GDP, and is home to flagship Mexican companies, such as CEMEX (one of the world’s largest producers of building materials), ALFA (multinational conglomerate that includes petrochemical products, auto components, and refrigerated foods) and GRUMA (largest corn flour and tortillas producer in the world).

However, the importance of Nuevo León is also political. In 1997, the PAN won the governorship, but the PRI recovered it in 2003. Since then it has remained under PRI control. Recent polling by Reforma suggests the current electoral competition in the state has two interesting and contrasting tendencies.

1) The PRI candidate, Ivonne Álvarez, leads voting preferences with 32.8%. In second place, there is a tight race between Felipe de Jesús Cantú from the PAN and Jaime Rodríguez, an independent candidate, with 24% and 21.7% of preferences, respectively. This case is particularly interesting because in Mexico it is extremely rare for a candidate with no party affiliation to be in a competitive position for the most important political post in the state.

Jaime Rodríguez, nicknamed “El Bronco,” has been a politician for more than 30 years. He was mayor of García, a suburban municipality of Monterrey (the capital of Nuevo León). A former member of the PRI, he is famous both for his strong character and for having survived two attacks by drug-trafficking organizations. In fact, he is also the candidate with the highest approval ratings among the population with 54%, slightly ahead of the PRI and PAN candidates with 53% and 49%, respectively.

2) Opinions from leaders (academics, opinion leaders and the business community) contrast with the general population survey. In the leaders survey, the PAN candidate leads preferences with 41%, followed by Movimiento Ciudadano candidate, Fernando Elizondo, with 26%, Jaime Rodríguez with 18%, and Ivonne Álvarez with 10%.

Fernando Elizondo is also an interesting case, as he was interim governor for the PAN in 2003 and then Senator (2006-2012). He left the PAN in 2014, but he distinguished himself by having a good image among both the population and the leaders in his state.

Given these factors, the campaign for the governorship of Nuevo León promises to become more interesting as the election approaches.

Ivonne Álvarez

Felipe de Jesús Cantú 

Jaime Rodríguez

Fernando Elizondo

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