Mexican general election, July 1, 2012

Mexican general election, 2012. Electing a new president; also elections to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate; and some state and local elections.

The presidential candidates are:

Josefina Vasquez Mota, of the conservative PAN or National Action Party, the party of incumbent President Felipe Calderon (not up for re-election – Mexican presidents are limited to one six-year term).

Enrique Pena Nieto of the center-left PRI or Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held a lock on the presidency from 1929 to 2000. Apparently the front-runner (see below).

Andre Manuel Lopez Obrador of the somewhat-more-leftier PRD or Party of the Democratic Revolution. Lopez Obrador is the candidate who ran in 2006 and claimed to have been robbed of victory by fraud. (Wouldn’t be the first time.)

Gabriel Quadri de le Torre, of Mexico’s newest national political party, the liberal New Alliance Party.

And – whoops and que lastima! The election is already scandal-plagued!

That’s as much as I can glean from Wiki & stuff. Can any MexiDopers fill us in on the deep background? What are the salient issues in this election?

Lovely, so the PRI looks to be headed back into office, and they’re just as corrupt as ever.

Well, are they or anybody promising to crack down on all this drug-cartel-violence and shit?

Latest poll: 42% for Pena Nieto (PRI); 28% each for Lopez Obrador (PRD) and Vasquez Mota (PAN). The story notes Pena Nieto’s lead is narrowing.

Lopez Obrador says, if elected, he won’t follow the socialist economic model of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Well, the PRI promises to end the violence, but not through crackdowns. They seem to be proposing to accommodate the leaders of the cartels, while still going after street crime. They swear that they’ll still try to arrest the leaders, it just won’t be the focus. It sounds like a return to the PRI of old, really.

I’m not a great fan of the crackdowns, as they seem to have led to the current situation near the Mexico-U.S. border. Anecdotally: since they began, low-quality marijuana has seemed to become much more rare in Texas. However, even if it held true when tested, it would only be a success by degree, there’s no direct evidence that the crackdowns are the cause (e.g., they could have begun growing/importing higher quality). Even if it is the cause, the cost has been very high for Mexico.

Obrador has the position of pulling the military out of the situation, and letting the local police deal with it. He’s also suggested either increasing the strength of the existing national police, or creating a new force. That was what was being done before, and it wasn’t working. His reasoning is that the military is worn out from the fight. I know that every country does not need a military like the U.S. has, and it’s not the type of job your military trains for, but it seems this would be the wrong reason to stop using them.

Vázquez seems to have the position that the current plan should continue for the time being.

Given that, I can understand why a return to the old party and the old way would seem appealing to the populace. Even if they were corrupt, they knew how to play ball with the cartels and keep the problems to a dull roar. The PRI pretty much made Mexico what it was before 2000. Since it seems like they’ve still got the same methods and goals, I don’t see it being a better situation than the last time they were in power.

I have a friend who I could imagine might return to Mexico to vote. If she asked me which she should vote for, I’d advise: If you want to continue fighting the cartels tooth and nail, vote Vázquez. If you don’t, vote for Obrador. Anything would be better than the architects of the current situation, even if I have my doubts about Obrador’s dedication to the democratic process.

If we’re voting on just this subject, and only the 3 leading candidates can be considered, I’d vote Vázquez. If I actually had a vote in the Mexican election, I’d have to buy a case of Maalox.

Lopez Obrador is gaining ground in the polls.

Pena Nieto of the PRI still holds a big lead.

Yuck. Everything I had heard/read in the last few weeks said his support was dwindling. Well, at least it looks like Mexico will calm down again for the time being. The PRI always was pretty good at getting everyone to play ball. Its other problems probably won’t get any better, though.

If they win, any bets on how long they stay in power this time? Their control has slipped from the days of old, obviously. However, I don’t have a feel for how much the Mexicans miss them. Their mismanagement of the country did seem to work better in the short term than PAN’s management of the country in the interim since they left.

Well, the party in power is not always to blame for a country’s bad times. Remember, we’ve been in a global recession/depression these past five years. But that’s no excuse for letting the drug-cartels run rampant.

Well, yes. That’s what I meant by the PRE’s management not being successful in the short term. They were looking to try to cure what they see as the root of the problem, which I think was at least exacerbated by the PRI’s corrupt management of the country beforehand.

I largely blame the PRI for the current situation in Mexico. It would be unreasonable to expect the PRE to undo in 12 years what the PRI spent 80 years making. Expecting that to be painless is even less reasonable. Given that, I’d still personally vote for the PRE. Obrador doesn’t seem to have a terribly different strategy from the PRI on paper, and he behaved like a clown after he lost the election. I still understand the impulse to return to the PRI. It’s hard to argue against returning to relative peace and quiet, which is essentially what they promise.

:confused: What is the “PRE”? Do you mean the PAN?

Yes, sorry, don’t know where I got that. My only excuse is I’m not getting a lot of sleep these days.

Projected results: Pena Nieto (PRI) 37%, Lopez Obrador (PRD) 30%, Vasquez Mota (PAN) 25%. Looks like it will be Pena Nieto, but as a “minority president,” if that phrase has any salience in Mexican politics. (No provision for a runoff, apparently.)

Well, lets hope the fact that there’s a precedent for voting the PRI out of office will temper their behavior, and make them a responsible governing party. I’ve got no evidence, but I have the awful feeling that the Mexicans won’t get peace or good government from the PRI’s return to the presidency.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong, though. I hope that through some miracle, they get both.

Hmm, it looks like the fat lady may not have sung yet. Obrador is being awarded a partial recount due to allegations of corruption such as vote buying against the PRI. It’s probably a long shot, but we’ll see.

Hm. Lopez Obrador is challenging the results. Didn’t work last time, what makes him think it can work this time?