Tag Archives: Proposals

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.

 

 

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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.