Category Archives: Parties

Jorge Castañeda abandons quest as independent candidate for President; endorses Senator Armando Ríos Piter

Jorge Castañeda, one of Mexico’s leading public policy intellectuals and Foreign Minister under Vicente Fox, wrote today that he was giving up his long-time quest to run as an independent candidate for President.  And he threw his support to independent Senator Armando Ríos Piter, who resigned from the PRD and declared his candidacy in February.

Comparing the political situation in Mexico to that of France, Castañeda wrote in his column that while the objective conditions in Mexico were even more favorable than in France for a fresh political voice to triumph, the electoral system made it very unlikely, especially with a multiplicity of potential independent candidates.  To have a chance of unseating the discredited partidocracy, voters would have to rally around a single independent candidate:

After more than a year of considerable effort, it is evident to me that … this unity candidate will not be me.  However, I believe there are others who can meet the requirements:  of freshness, a breadth of support, an ability to get people out.  One in particular:  El Jaguar, [Armando] Ríos Piter can count on my total support, in this fight that has barely begun.

Castañeda was personally the major force in making independent candidacies possible in Mexico.  In 2004, he started a political and legal challenge to the electoral laws that gave registered political parties exclusive right to name candidates for office.  His case went to the Mexican Supreme Court, where he lost.  He appealed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where ultimately he was again turned down, in appeals that lasted into 2013. However, while the case was pending, Congress approved independent candidates in the 2007 electoral reform.  (And in 2015, the voters of Nuevo León elected Jaime Rodríguez, El Bronco, governor — the first independent to win a major political office.)

State of Mexico election still wide open

A new poll by El Universal gives PRI candidate Alfredo del Mazo a narrow lead over Morena candidate Delfina Gómez in the race of State of Mexico governor.  PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez has slipped to fourth place — after a poor debate performance on April 25 and a lackluster campaign — while Juan Zepeda of the PRD is now in third.  Most surprisingly, however, the share of voters who are undecided rose from 31% in April to 38% in May.  The election is on June 4, and the second and last candidate debate is tomorrow night.

El Universal Poll, May 8Of the candidates, Zepeda has the highest favorability rating (+37%), while Del Mazo has the highest disapproval rating (-43%).

The survey also shows that while 46% approve the performance of current PRI Governor Eruviel Ávila (vs. 41% disapproval) , 7 in 10 would like to see a change in the party controlling the state.

 

Morena and PRI candidates tied in Mexico State

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.51.37 PMOn the eve of the first debate between the candidates, a new Reforma poll published today showed that Delfina Gómez (Morena) and Alfredo del Mazo (PRI) continue to be tied for the lead in the Mexico State gubernatorial election, with 28-29% of the vote each.  Josefina Vázquez (PAN) has slipped to 22%, while Juan Zepeda (PRD) has risen slightly to 14%.  (The published results are adjusted for the 29% who are undecided.)

Gómez also leads del Mazo in almost all other indicators (“more trustworthy”, “closer to the people”, etc.), except in the category experience, where del Mazo is ahead.  The Morena candidate has a much stronger favorability rating — 27% favorable vs 15% unfavorable.  Only 20% of those polled view del Mazo favorably, while 37% see him unfavorably.

All five regular party candidates for Governor will participate in tonight’s 90-minute televised debate. One of the two independents (Castell) may join, while the registration of the other (Pastor) was suspended after legal challenges.

 

 

 

Morena candidate caught on video receiving cash donation to give to AMLO

El Universal today published a short video of Eva Cadena, the Morena candidate for mayor of Las Choapas in Veracruz state, receiving Ps. 500,000 in cash from an unidentified person off camera with the instruction to give it to López Obrador.  Ms. Cadena accepts the cash and promises to deliver it.  The video was apparently made on April 6, and AMLO appeared with Cadena on April 8 to launch her campaign.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 10.09.41 PMThe person giving Cadena the cash says that she is being given the cash to pass on to AMLO because he “is very fond of you and has absolute trust in you.”  Cadena’s only request is to be given something in which to put the money.  (She is given a large manila envelope.)

This afternoon, Cadena resigned her candidacy for mayor of Las Choapas, a town of 83,000 people in the oil belt.  In a radio interview, she reportedly said, “I recognize the error I made in having this meeting. … I was set up, [and] I will put myself at the disposition of the party.  I made a mistake, and I take responsibility.”  In a statement, she also said that when she was told that cash campaign donations were not legal, she returned the money.

López Obrador reacted immediately with a YouTube video saying “the Mafia in power is full of fear of Morena; Salinas, Peña, Fox, Calderón and their flunkies are trying to destroy us politically in this dirty war,” but that, “we’ve always emerged unwounded from slanders.  Our shield is our honesty.”

The video does have the feel of a frame-up, but it unleashed a wave of denunciations from all the other parties directed at AMLO and Morena.

 

Mexicans react with skepticism and irony to Duarte’s arrest

Public reaction to the arrest in Guatemala of Javier Duarte, the fugitive ex-Governor of Veracruz, has abounded in skepticism, with more than a million postings on each of Facebook and Twitter in Mexico.  He has become “the El Chapo of the PRI,” as columnist Carlos Marín noted.  One reporter twittered ironically about the self-congratulatory messages the PRI establishment sent out: “This is PRI-istas applauding PRI-istas for the arrest of a PRI-ista who diverted public moneys for PRI-ista election campaigns.”

Duarte smilingMany have called the arrest a “negotiated surrender.”  They say that Duarte agreed to give himself up and stay silent about the many politicians complicit in his crimes, in return for a light sentence and protection from prosecution for his wife and other family members.  They cite the bizarre smile on Duarte’s face in the custody of the Guatemalan authorities and the fact that his wife, who was clearly involved in many of the transactions to divert public funds, was not arrested.  “This is nonsensical, to say the least,” comments Marín.  “The same people who were saying the government was protecting him a few days ago are now saying that the whole thing was a charade.”

One of these was Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was also roundly mocked for calling Duarte a “scapegoat,” implying of course that Duarte was innocent.

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GEA-ISA polls shows depth of political discontent

A new quarterly poll by GEA-ISA for March 2017 provides good insight into Mexican political perceptions.  While the bottom line for candidate preferences are similar to other polls, following are some of the highlights that come from a more comprehensive survey.

Net favorable/unfavorable ratings of presidential contenders

  • Ricardo Anaya (PAN) is the only potential candidate with a net positive approval rating: +1%.
  • Andrés Manuel López Obrador has a net negative rating of only -1%. This is very different from his previous two runs for the presidency.
  • All others have large net unfavorable ratings. Politicians are a very discredited breed in Mexico.

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The performance of the Enrique Peña Nieto government

  • The evaluation worsened along every dimension surveyed, compared to both Nov. 2016 and March 2016.  Only 19% approve of his performance as President (down 25% in one year), and 77% disapprove.
  • His greatest accomplishment as President: Nothing (43%).  His biggest mistake: the gasoline price increases (18% ).

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Edomex gubernatorial campaigns kick-off; polls show PRI back in lead

The campaigns for Governor of the State of Mexico officially kicked off just after midnight on Monday morning, with the three leading candidates holding large public meetings.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.34.32 PMA new poll in El Financiero, shows PRI candidate Alfredo Del Mazo back in the lead with 32%, recovering from the public’s strong reaction to the January gasoline price shock.  The PAN’s Josefina Vázquez Mota — who doesn’t really have roots in the state — is holding steady at 26%.  Delfina Gómez of Morena has risen strongly to tie her, taking votes from the PRD, which continues to fade.  (These percentages exclude undecided voters — 32% of those surveyed.)

In his kickoff, Alfredo del Mazo promised to make the state the safest in the country, with  more security video cameras and panic buttons on public buses (the frequent target of robberies and hijackings) and to expand further social programs, including giving housewives a “pink salary.”

PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota promised to put an end to “the corrupting PRI,” and to find a place for the state’s ruling families next to the fossils in the history museum.  (Edomex is one of five states where the PRI has never lost the governor’s palace.)

Morena candidate Delfina Gómez also promised to break the PRI’s monopoly in power, saying she “knew the pain of hunger. ”

All three parties are bringing the full force of their national organizations to bear — and in the case of the PRI, also the federal government.  Cabinet secretaries have been in the state an average of three times per week for the past seven months, for ribbon cuttings or to give away everything from washing machines to chickens under the banner of “social assistance.”

The stakes are clearly highest for the PRI.  A loss would probably be a stake in the heart for their hopes of keeping control of the government in 2018, and strip President Peña Nieto of whatever small prestige he still commands.

Sources:  El Universal, Reforma, Milenio