Tag Archives: Political Parties

ELECTION MONITOR 06.04.15

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Gubernatorial Debates

Since a little over 20 years ago, holding debates between candidates has become common in the Mexican political environment. Naturally, the first efforts were made during presidential campaigns. In fact, the first presidential debate was held during the 1994 elections. However, from that moment on, gubernatorial debates have been also increasingly common. The first public and broadcasted debate of this type was in 1997, during the first campaign to elect the Mayor of Mexico City. Debates have been driven either by electoral authorities or by media outlets. In this context, during the campaigns that today come to an end, there have been debates among the candidates for most of the 2015 gubernatorial elections.

Nuevo León, one of the most important states whose gubernatorial election became more competitive as campaigns advances, had 5 debates. One organized by electoral authorities, one more organized by the Civic Council Citizen through its platform Nuevo León ¿Cómo Vamos? two organized by universities (the University of Monterrey and Universidad Regiomontana) and the other one organized by El Norte, a leading newspaper from Grupo Reforma. Some have been summoned all candidates and in others only the pointers in the polls.

In all debates, each of the candidates has established his or her priorities and government plans in case of winning. The most recurrent themes were corruption and transparency, security, urban planning, and social and economic development. As a symbol of a closed competition, the meetings have not been free of attacks and insults among candidates.

Nuevo León debate organized by Nuevo León ¿Cómo Vamos? (in Spanish)

Nuevo León debate organized by the University of Monterrey (in Spanish)

Nuevo León debate organized by electoral authorities (in Spanish)

Nuevo León debate organized by El Norte (in Spanish)

In Michoacán, electoral authorities organized two debates. All the candidates were invited. Given the latest developments in the state, it was no surprise that much of the discussion centered on proposals and recriminations on the subject of security.

Michoacán first debate (in Spanish)

In Guerrero, state electoral authorities hosted a debate among all candidates for the governorship. As in the case of Michoacán, security was a recurring issue in all of the speeches and proposals. The candidates also addressed issues of poverty, tourism, public health, and social development.

Guerrero first debate (in Spanish)

Other entities such as Sonora, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Baja California Sur, and Campeche also carried out one or two debates among candidates. In most states, there were other spaces where candidates contrast their proposals.

Querétaro first debate (in Spanish)

Sonora first debate (in Spanish)

Undoubtedly, the debates are important to the electorate, as they are spaces in which the contrast of ideas and positions is clearer than in speeches and/or political rallies. Of course, these kind of democratic exercises also serve to discredit and attack the opponents, which is also a good sign of democracy, as the political act is not without the clash of ideas. It is positive that debates in Mexico are becoming more common and that the both citizens and the media see these spaces as the right place to bounce ideas among the various candidates. Hopefully, these exercises will also help to increase citizen participation in the elections next Sunday.

 

 

The electoral battle for Mexico City

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

Mexico City is home to more than 9 million people. However, the daily metropolitan area movements reach 29 million people. In addition to this, the city is the seat to the three branches, as well as very prominent private companies. Therefore, population density and political resonance are some conditions that make Mexico City politically attractive. In fact, governing the city can boost political aspirations of the mayors. This has occurred since 1997, when the inhabitants of Mexico City had the opportunity for the first time to choose their authorities – before this, both the delegation chiefs (figure similar to the municipalities) and the Mayor were elected by the President. This was true with Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the first Mayor of Mexico City and former presidential candidate in 2000 for the third time; with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, former presidential candidate in 2006 and in 2012; and with Marcelo Ebrard, who ran to be the presidential candidate in 2012, but lost against López Obrador in the primary elections.

While the contemporary history of Mexico City should be told predominantly from the left, as it has been the bastion of these political forces for 18 years, the fragmentation of the left parties and the growing competition from traditional parties, such as the PRI and the PAN, make this 2015 election crucial to determine the political future of the capital. Here, we present an analysis of the conditions at play and some of its most important players.

While previous mayors, like the current mayor Miguel Mancera, were chosen by alliances led by the PRD, the story today is very different. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the historic leader of the party, resigned his membership this year. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is currently the main leader of the new party MORENA, which encompasses, among other characters, former close aides who worked with him during his term in Mexico City’s office. Marcelo Ebrard sought a place as Federal Deputy in these elections but by Citizens’ Movement (MC), a previously close ally of the PRD. In fact, electoral authorities determined his ineligibility for quitting the PRD just before enrolling in the other party. Thus, the division of the left becomes more evident in Mexico City leadership.

The bottom line is that the competition between the PRD and MORENA will potentially be close in some areas of the city. Most of the PRD candidates have been chosen from local leaderships and closeness to Miguel Mancera’s administration and PRD national leadership. On the other hand, MORENA candidates are basically national-level figures, such as former state governors and people close to the López Obrador political group. Thus, although the PRD currently governs 14 of the 16 delegations (see map), it is expected to have strong competition in very important places such as Iztapalapa and Cuauhtémoc.

Historically, the PAN and the PRI have had little presence in Mexico City. The PAN currently rules the Benito Juárez delegation, which has been its political bastion in the city for the last several years, and the PRI rules the Cuajimalpa delegation. In the case of the PAN, some important figures are also competing for delegations such as Miguel Hidalgo, and the party aspires to govern more delegations as they did in the midterm elections of 2009 (see map). For its part, the PRI Cuajimalpa aspires to preserve and perhaps strengthen its presence in other areas of the capital. Just a couple of weeks ago, Cuajimalpa recorded a violent confrontation between supporters of the PRI and PRD, which ended with a non-aggression pact between state party leaders.

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In summary, these 2015 elections for Mexico City will measure the strength of different leaderships and parties on the left that will lay out the competition towards the 2018 Presidential Election. At the same time, electoral competition between the PRD and MORENA will be close in some areas of the capital.This is especially important as this is the first election for the latter party. Finally, this increasing competition and its immediate consequence of split voting could help the PRI and the PAN to gain positions. Finally, this electoral battle in Mexico City comes at a crucial time when Congress is discussing the creation of a new Constituent Congress to give Mexico City a constitution and character as a federal entity, which would affect the checks and balances that the city has historically had (see our latest Op-Ed on the topic).

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

Mexico’s top election official offended the nation with a racist rant

By Ioan GrilloGlobal Post in Los Angeles Daily News 04/27/15

MEXICO CITY — Racism in Mexico has different dynamics than over the border in the United States.

The majority of people here have both European and indigenous roots. The census does not identify people by skin color. After the Mexican Revolution, the government promoted the concept of the “Raza Cosmica,” an ideal of a mixed-race nation.

Yet, racism still exists, and at some of the highest levels. That showed this week in a blowup over a leaked phone call with Mexico’s top electoral official, in which he mocked indigenous people — the 15 million Mexicans who speak languages such as Nahuatl or Mixtec.

Lorenzo Cordova, president of the National Electoral Institute, was talking on the phone to an aide when he launched into his racist rant.

He ridiculed an indigenous leader who’d called for a new electoral district, saying, “I’m not lying, I’m going to tell you how this bastard spoke.” Then he proceeded to impersonate Tonto from the “Lone Ranger”: “Me, boss Chichimeca great nation. Me come Guanajuato. Me to say you….” Then he compared the community to “Martians.”

To give a sense of how incendiary this is — it’s a bit like if a white US Supreme Court justice were caught using the N-word and speaking in mock Ebonics.

The audio of Cordova’s call mysteriously appeared on YouTube on Tuesday, and clocked up a quarter of a million views within a few hours. It went viral on Twitter and drew thousands of comments on websites.

“Incredible phone conversation of Lorenzo Cordova. Making fun of those he should be serving,” tweeted the columnist Gabriel Guerra.

It couldn’t come at a worse time for Cordova. He’s overseeing midterm elections on June 7, in which Mexico will vote for hundreds of new lawmakers, governors and mayors.

The ballot has already been clouded by corruption scandals and political violence.

On Tuesday, Cordova apologized for his outburst in a hastily called press conference.

“During the phone call I spoke in an unfortunate and disrespectful manner,” Cordova said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a frank and sincere apology to anybody who could have been offended.”

However, he also filed a criminal complaint with federal prosecutors about someone recording and leaking his calls.

It’s unclear who was behind it. The audio was posted on YouTube by “Jon Doe.”

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Mexico’s Midterm Elections and the Peña Nieto Administration

 

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If you missed our event yesterday, check the broadcast here:

<br /><a href=”http://www.ustream.tv&#8221; style=”font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px; font-weight: normal; text-align: left;” target=”_blank”>Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream</a>

Don’t forget to visit the Mexico Institute website where you can review our latest events and publications.

Visit here to check out our Transparency and Rule of Law Series.

Mexico’s ‘super citizens’ take back the streets from polluting politicos

By Tania Miranda in Fusion 05/12/15

MEXICO CITY — With midterms scheduled for next month, election season has permeated all aspects of Mexican life. Attack ads plague the country’s airwaves and giant billboards and propaganda line the streets of Mexico City. It seems that everywhere you turn a politician’s smiling mug looks back at you, trying its best to appear electable.

But now a group of Mexican activists has decided to take back the streets by tearing down all campaign propaganda and encouraging a nationwide clean-up effort against “electoral trash.”

Los Supercivicos,” which translates loosely to “The Super Citizens,” are engaging Mexican voters with their unique brand of politicized satire. In the past, the group of Internet stars has turned its cameras on the government, police, pedestrians and drivers with viral videos that have garnered millions of views.

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New polling data highlights intriguing splits among Mexican voters according to Parametría

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

According to a recent voter analysis by Parametría, published in El Financiero, there are different characteristics of voters based on the party they plan to vote for in the coming elections. Here are some highlights:

  • PRD has a relatively stronger preference among men in comparison to women, and the age cohort with the highest preference for this party is between ages 36 and 55 years old. Regarding educational attainment, the groups with no formal education and with the highest levels of education have a relatively stronger preference in comparison with the other groups.
  • PAN is an equally attractive option for men and women, and the age cohort with the highest preference for this party is between ages 26 and 35 years old. In addition, the people with the highest educational attainment level have a stronger preference for this party compared to the lowest levels.
  • PVEM has a relatively stronger preference among women and among younger voters. On the other hand, according to the poll, people with no formal education and with the highest income levels apparently will not vote for this party.
  • MORENA, the new party whose main leader is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has stronger preferencs among the people whose highest educational attainment is high school and among people with the highest income levels.
  • PRI has a relatively stronger preference among men, and it increases progressively according to age. Similarly, the party is strong among the people in the two lowest levels of income and education.

Below, you will find an infographic in Spanish published by El Financiero. In the first panel, the analysis is made according to 5 age cohorts, in the second panel according to 5 educational attainment levels (no formal education, primary, junior high school, high school, and higher education), and in the third panel, the analysis is made according to 4 income levels. Here you can find the complete analysis in the pollster webpage (in Spanish).

Perfil votantes

Legislative Proposals from the PAN, PRI, and PRD

By Pedro Valenzuela Parcero

In each election cycle, voters are subject to endless partisan propaganda by all political parties and, rather than providing clarity, it tends to confuse the electorate. In an attempt to provide clarity, the National Electoral Institute (INE) is holding discussion forums on the legislative platforms and the key proposals of each political party. In addition to INE’s efforts, the National University (UNAM) has launched Voto Informado (informed vote) an initiative that surveys the candidates and gather information on their public policy views. In the Mexico Institute, we made an analysis of the legislative platforms of the three main political parties, and highlight the following trends:

  1. Rule of law and security. The PRI, PAN, and PRD agree on increasing anti-corruption controls at the state and municipal levels and on raising penalties on public servants. They also agree on increasing education on and emphasis on human rights, both for citizens and security personnel such as police, Legislative Proposals from the PAN, PRI, and PRDjudges, and military. The PRD proposal focuses on drug decriminalization; the PAN seeks to promote the creation of public agencies to monitor compliance with the new anti-corruption rules; whereas the PRI focuses on the implementation of some of the security measures announced by the President in recent months, such as a single police entity at the state-level and a single nationwide emergency number.
  2. Economy and public finances. The PRI, PAN, and PRD agree on raising the minimum wage but differ on the level and method of doing so. The PRI encourages the use of public spending to boost development in specific industries and regions; the PAN wants to ensure multi-year investments in infrastructure projects; and, the PRD and PRI are proposing the establishment of unemployment insurance.
  3. Energy and sustainability. The PRI and the PAN agree to monitor the implementation of the reform to increase certainty for international investors, increasing transparency and accountability at every stage of contracts. The PRI is looking for policies to increase production of crude oil and the PAN seeks to focus on renewable energies. The PRD, in addition to seeking to repeal the energy reform, focuses on lowering prices to final consumers in gasoline, diesel and electricity prices.

Despite the apparent point in common that the parties have, it remains to be seen if the political incentives may provide an environment to reach productive agreements given the fact that this legislature will be a prelude to the next presidential succession. At the same time, it remains to be seen if the President and his team revive the political ability shown in the start of his government in order to build consensus with the opposition parties in key areas.

Finally, returning to the discussion of proposals, while it is not clear that Mexican society is enthusiastic about these elections, it is a good sign that the INE, UNAM, and other organizations are focused on disseminating information among the electorate and promoting the debate on the proposals. Hopefully, it will help to overcome apathy and increase voter turnout next June.

See the infographics below analyzing key issues on the PRI, PAN, and PRD legislative proposals. The proposals are grouped into 8 categories: rule of law, public finances, security, economy, education, social development, sustainability, and energy.

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Visit here for more information regarding the political landscape in Mexico

Visit here for more information on the parties for this election

Visit here to check all the legislative proposals (in Spanish)

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.

 

Carmen Aristegui: Mexico’s Voice

By Jorge Ramos in Fusion 04/27/15

I would imagine that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s worst fear is that Carmen Aristegui is keeping an eye on him and his cabinet. On any given day, the Mexican journalist is likely to unveil another scandal, another injustice, or another act of corruption connected to officials in the administration. And we can count on Aristegui to tell the truth.

In Mexico, many “journalists” tend to act as mouthpieces for Peña Nieto’s government. They don’t dare to question the actions of officials; in fact, they maintain personal relationships with them, dining with them and attending their parties. For many people working in the Mexican media, being close to power has its perks.

But Aristegui doesn’t want to be close to power. She wants to confront it.

Her team at Aristegui Noticias revealed late last year that the president’s wife, Angelica Rivera, financed a luxury home in 2012 worth $7 million (dubbed Mexico’s “White House”) in the exclusive Mexico City neighborhood of Las Lomas. She bought the home from a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, a company that has been awarded millions in government contracts.

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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.