Tag Archives: INE

ELECTION MONITOR 04.30.15

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Campaigns’ content and low enthusiasm for the election

According to a study requested by the National Electoral Institute (INE), only 47% of Mexicans know the correct date of the legislative elections, a figure that rises to 51% in states where there is also a gubernatorial election. Furthermore, only 38% of voters intend to vote on Election Day, although some of them indicated that they will either spoil the ballot or leave it blank. That number increases to 45% in states with gubernatorial elections.

These figures are in line with historical data in Mexico. According to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, voter turnout in the legislative elections in Mexico was 44.61% in 2009, 41.68% in 2003, and 57.69% in 1997. These numbers are lower in comparison with the turnout for legislative elections when there are also Presidential elections. For example in 2012, the turnout was 62.45%, and in 2006, it was 58.60%.

According to a study by BGC, 80% of voters believe that the campaigns are concentrating more on criticizing opponents than spreading proposals. According to their study, the most effective campaigns have been those of the PAN and the PVEM (Green Party), followed by the PRI. In the case of the PAN, their criticism of government corruption and their promises of improving security are the two most remembered issues. For the Greens, voters acknowledge that the party has already fulfilled some proposals related to health and security; in the case of the PRI, both criticism of PAN corruption and other benefits of the reforms already approved during this administration are recognized by voters.

 

An example of this last situation is the gubernatorial race for the northern state of Sonora, which has recently received attention for other reasons. The leading candidates of both the PRI and the PAN have been involved in headline-making scandals on the front pages of the major national newspapers. For the PRI, the candidate was accused of improperly benefiting contractors in federal biddings and then was also accused of misusing a foreign-registered aircraft during the campaign. In the case of the PAN, the candidate has been accused of paying for the use of a plane owned by his wife with campaign contributions and was also accused of receiving a multi-million tax-amnesty by the state government. These recent revelations highlight the heated level of the political battle in Mexico and highlight the fact that it has become key to disqualify the opponent. Furthermore, the events in Sonora are surprising since those accusations and the evidence around them are not gathered easily.

In conclusion, these elections have very clear issues to face, such as security in some states, social unrest derived from the missing students, and corruption scandals at all levels of government. However, if these ingredients are coupled with the fact that political participation is generally lower in midterm elections, then it is clear that the challenge of attracting voters is enormous. In this context, is uncertain if political communication strategies chosen by the parties during these campaigns will encourage voter turnout, or in fact could have the opposite effect, lowering participation.

 

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The campaign ads Mexico’s censors don’t want you to see

By Ioan Grillo in Global Post 04/27/15

MEXICO CITY — You might think US election campaigns get too negative sometimes. Well, south of the Rio Grande, Mexican politicians are inspired.

And they’re even taking it a step further.

Look at this ad the opposition National Action Party (PAN) made for the midterm elections coming in June.

(Don’t worry, non-Spanish speakers, we’ll translate the nasty part below. Plus you may learn a bit of Mexican slang in the process.)

A man is asked what he thinks about the leader of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) wearing a $140,000 watch.

The man responds: It’s a “chingadera” — which roughly translates as “totally f—ed up.”

The PRI leader denied the accusation, so Mexico’s electoral authority banned the commercial. But then the ban made the forbidden campaign ad into a hot news item, and crystallized the politician’s overly blinged-out reputation.

Not to be beaten, the PRI made this revenge spot with almost exactly the same format. In it, a man is asked what he thinks of PAN legislators taking bribes from projects to build schools and hospitals.

“Que poca madre!” he responds. That’s more Mexican slang that essentially means, among other things, “totally f—ed up.”

The PAN also complained, and the electoral authority banned it. (Tit for tat.)

In January, the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) put out this spot pointing to what’s wrong with Mexico.

It not only featured President Enrique Peña Nieto, but also Mexico’s most popular TV news show host, Joaquin Lopez Doriga. Protesters accuse him of being too pro-government and have demonstrated outside his studios.

The PRD released the ad on TV with a sign saying “censored” over Lopez Doriga’s face. Meanwhile, the uncensored commercial on YouTube has clocked more than a quarter of a million hits.

Take that, censors.

OAS and INE of Mexico Signed Agreement on Procedures for Mission to June 7 Elections

By OAS, Press Release 04/27/15

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The Organization of American States (OAS) and the National Electoral Institute of Mexico today signed the agreement that regulates the procedures for the Mission that the hemispheric institution will send to the federal elections in the country on June 7.
In a ceremony held at INE headquarters in Mexico City, the former President of Costa Rica and Chief of the Foreign Visitors Mission, Laura Chinchilla, and the INE President, Lorenzo Córdova signed the document.

President Chinchilla, who was named Chief of Mission by the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, and who is currently on a preliminary visit in Mexico, said “the agreement on procedures signed today establishes the necessary conditions to witness in an independent and impartial manner the 2015 electoral process and the transparency of the Mexican electoral authorities.”

President Córdova, for his part, said he is convinced that “the professionalism of the electoral observation and its reports will be of great use in the consolidation and improvement of the national system of elections.”

The signing ceremony was attended by the Undersecretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico for Latin America, Vanessa Rubio; the Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora; and the Executive Secretary of the INE, Edmundo Jacobo.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Mexico’s Greens: pro-death penalty, allegedly corrupt – and not very green

By The Guardian, 04/21/15

Allied with the governing PRI, the party has little to say about deforestation or climate change and critics call it a family firm ‘bordering on organised crime’

In much of the world, green politicians struggle to shake off the impression that they are impossible dreamers whose lofty principles would be unlikely to survive the grubby and cynical world of politics.

This has never been a problem in Mexico: leaders of the country’s Green party have regularly been accused of corruption, selling political favours – and of showing no interest in environmental issues. In 2009, the party ran an election campaign calling for the return of the death penalty.

Now the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico faces record 180m peso (£7.9m/$11.7m) fines for breaching electoral campaign rules amid growing anger over its tactics ahead of midterm elections in June. More than 96,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that electoral authorities withdraw the party’s registration after it flooded the country with political advertising before the campaign period officially began.

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Mexico’s Election Watchdog Orders Ads Criticizing President to Be Pulled

By Wall Street Journal, 04/15/15

MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s elections watchdog has ordered that an opposition political party’s TV and radio ads accusing President Enrique Peña Nieto of misspending taxpayers’ money be pulled from the airwaves for slandering the president, raising concerns about the ability of political parties to criticize the government.

The National Electoral Institute said in a statement Tuesday that the advertisements from the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, contained “slanderous messages” and gave TV and radio companies 24 hours to stop running the spots.

The TV ads criticize the president for allegedly taking along some 200 people with him as part of the official Mexican delegation during a March state visit to the U.K.

The institute said that Mr. Peña Nieto complained that the ads “discredit and disqualify” the executive without offering “any proof.”

During the March visit, Mexico’s most influential newspaper, Reforma, reported that the Mexican delegation totaled some 200 people, including cabinet members, politicians, businessmen and academics. It said the delegation was far larger than previous Mexican state visits.

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ELECTION MONITOR 04.15.15

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Security and the Elections

The leaders of almost all of the political parties, except MORENA and Movimiento Ciudadano, met last week with the Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, to agree to a series of measures to ensure candidates’ safety and to analyze security concerns regarding certain regions across the country.

As a result of the meeting, both the parties and the Secretary reported that there are optimal conditions throughout the country to develop the electoral process harmoniously. However, they also agreed to put in place coordination measures to ensure the correct development of the campaigns, such as: the establishment of a dialogue table with party leaders and authorities to report and monitor potential issues, and deepening communication with some groups that have been advocating against the elections such as the teachers union in Guerrero (CETEG for its Spanish acronym), the parents of the missing students of Ayotzinapa, and other groups. In addition, the authorities shared some potential trouble spots, located in parts of Guerrero, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas, with the party leaders, so that they can monitor them and take them into account when campaigning.

Asserting that the election is in danger due to security would be a mistake. It is positive that the federal government met with party leaderships and so is the fact that they share the diagnosis of security in certain regions of the country that have higher risks. It is also true that security is a shared responsibility between the federal and local governments but also the parties must provide or have control over the candidates that are representing them in the elections.

On the other side, it is yet to see if the government is actually opening communication channels with groups that don’t want the election to take place. In this sense, it will be responsibility of all parties, levels of governments, and civil society to speak out about the key role that elections have in a democracy and highlight to the public opinion why is way better to have elections and vote that not to do it.

National Electoral Institute Sanctions to the Parties

On April 8 and 12, the Complaints Commission of the National Electoral Institute (INE) ordered the suspension of two campaigns started by the Partido Verde Ecologista (PVEM). The first campaign involved free movie tickets that promoted the party, and the second one was the delivery of school supplies with a partisan agenda and with products not authorized by the electoral law. The commission argued that the party was violating the principles of fairness in the electoral race, and prohibited all campaign strategies that linked specific benefits with the parties. Such penalties are in addition to the recent revocation of a couple of ads from the PAN and the PRI. In them, political parties cross accusations about alleged corruption acts and the Institute determined that they were defamatory, ordering their immediate suspension.

In the case of the PVEM, the suspensions add to several economic sanctions that the party has received in the last few months by the misuse of promotional media with fines that have reached more than $10 million dollars, which have even affected some television and radio stations through which those advertisements were promoted. The fines, ordered by the Complaints Commission of the Institute and endorsed by the Electoral Court of the Judiciary Branch, apply for spreading messages that do not follow the model of political communication, using social programs to promote the party, and using prohibited methods of advertising, such as promotion in theaters and through short message services (SMS).

With these actions, the INE is accomplishing the difficult task of regulating and sanctioning misdemeanors of the political parties during the campaigns. At the same time, it is setting the tone for the political debate by setting precedents on how to treat cross accusations from the political parties and candidates.

While sanctions and suspensions are intended to enforce the current regulatory framework, in social media and political rallies these actions are likely to continue occurring. For example, the PRI already mentioned that it will respond strongly to the opposition, the PAN has called on its followers to film and upload to social networks similar material to what the INE forbade them, and PVEM has increased its advertising in Mexico City. In terms of regulating campaigns, political advertising is clearly among the most important challenges that the INE has in this election.

Mexico Elections: Parties Generating Passions Incendiary in Weak Political Culture

By Mexico Voices, 04/14/15

This was a column originally published in Reforma: Diego Valadés – Translated by Mexico Voices

In a democratic system, the citizens’ expectations of freedom, welfare and justice tend to be very high. When these anticipated goals are not met, dissatisfaction can rise and, in general, affects leaders’ images. However, in systems with lower levels of legal-political culture, nonconformity is directed less toward government officials and more towards politics and, at a critical phase, even against democracy.

Although there aren’t foolproof indicators, there are scientific methods for measuring the results of constitutional systems. One example of these methods is from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit. Already in its seventh edition, their democracy index is based on five categories: electoral process and party pluralism; government functioning; political participation; political culture, and civil liberties. In the 2014 survey, Mexico placed 57th out of 167 countries.

As accustomed as we are to belonging to the lower segment of international tables, this place might not be so bad. According to their scoring system, countries are grouped as full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. We are placed among the 52 countries that make up the second group and not among the 24 countries of the first, which includes Uruguay (17) and Costa Rica (24).

On their scale of 1 to 10, our strongest category had to do with our electoral process, which received an 8.33. In government functioning and political participation, we barely received a 6; in political culture, a 5. In this last category, only 5 of the 52 flawed democracies were classified below Mexico.

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Visit here for more information on the parties for this election.
Visit here for more information regarding the last political reform in Mexico.
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