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Column 062512 Wall

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Final Countdown to Mexico's Election Day, on July 1

By Allan Wall

Mexico's presidential election is scheduled for Sunday, July 1st, so there is less than one week to go until balloting.

The four candidates participating are, in order of poll rankings: Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) and PVEM (Partido Verde Ecologista de México); Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (often referred to as AMLO) of the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática), PT (Partido del Trabajo), and Movimiento Ciudadano; Josefina Vazquez Mota of PAN (Partido Acción Nacional); and Gabriel Quadri de la Torre of PANAL (Partido de la Nueva Alianza).

On Election Day, voters will also vote for representatives and senators in the Mexican Congress, and for governors in some states.

My family and I are currently visiting Mexico, and it is exciting.  Political elections, after all, provide a lot of drama and entertainment.  Mexico is choosing its future leader for the next six years. 

Mexico does not allow reelection, thus current President Felipe Calderon cannot succeed himself.  The winner on July 1st is scheduled to take office on December 1, 2012.  

Mexico's electoral system has its similarities and differences with that of the United States.  For a description thereof, I invite the reader to consult my article Elections in Mexico and the US: Comparisons and Contrasts

As of June 24th, the Milenio-GEA/ISA poll ranked the candidates thusly: Peña Nieto 46.4%, AMLO 27.2%, Josefina 23.7%, and Quadri at 2.7%. 

Former president Vicente Fox surprised a lot of people, and enraged his own PAN party in this election.  First, Fox predicted, although he supported PAN candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota, that Peña Nieto would win the election.  (See here).  That was irritating enough to his fellow PANistas, but later Fox completely endorsed Peña Nieto.  This is ironic when you consider that Fox was the first non-PRI president in 71 years.  Yet here he is 12 years after his historic election, endorsing the candidate of the party he defeated.  But things change, and it appears that Fox views an AMLO presidency with such disgust that he'd rather have a PRI presidency.

Speaking of AMLO, if the PRD candidate loses will he accept the decision or, as he did six years ago, reject it and organize street protests?

Hopefully things will go smoother this time around. 

One thing is that the election doesn't seem as tight as it was in 2006, when Felipe Calderon edged out AMLO by less than one percent, only about a quarter of a million votes.

The IFE, Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute, has announced that, in case the difference between the winner and the runner-up is less than one percent of votes cast, then all ballots will be recounted.  That's a good idea, in case it's necessary.

Whoever wins the presidency, it's likely that neither of the two chambers of the Mexican Congress will be dominated by one party.  That means that Mexico's next president will need to be able to work with other parties in crafting the nation's laws.  The days of the Mexican Congress as a rubber-stamp of the executive are long gone. Nowadays a Mexican president needs great negotiating skills to deal with opposition parties in order to get things done.

In U.S. presidential elections, feverish campaigning goes on right down to the day before Election Day.  But it's not like that in Mexico.

Officially, Wednesday the 27th is the close of the campaign.  On Thursday the 28th, Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th, no official campaign activities are to be held.  The idea is that the Mexican citizenry has those days to reflect upon the upcoming decisions. 

And again, Election Day is scheduled for Sunday, July 1st.

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info/.


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