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Column 072312 Wall

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking Stock of the July 2012 Mexican Election Results

By Allan Wall

Mexico's elections were held on July 1st.  There were a lot of officials to be elected and there is much to consider.

Mexicans voted for a new president, and they chose an entirely new congress.  Gubernatorial elections were held in six states.  Legislative and municipal elections were held in twelve states.  In Mexico City, the Federal District, a new mayor was chosen, a new legislative assembly was elected, and the leaders of the city's 16 boroughs were elected.

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.

Here is a list of the four candidates for president, with the percentage of the vote each received.  It also lists names and initials of the seven parties involved, which are mentioned throughout the article.

  1. The winner, with 38.21% of the vote, was Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) and PVEM (Partido Verde Ecologista de México).
  2. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (often referred to as AMLO) of the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática), PT (Partido del Trabajo), and Movimiento Ciudadano (MC), was the runner-up with 31.59% of the vote. AMLO was also a candidate in the 2006 election.
  3. Josefina Vazquez Mota of PAN (Partido Acción Nacional) came in third with 25.41% of the vote.
  4. Gabriel Quadri de la Torre of PANAL (Partido de la Nueva Alianza) finished a distant fourth with a whopping 2.29% of the vote.

Peña Nieto is scheduled to take office on December 1st for a six-year term.

Lopez Obrador was the runner-up candidate with 31.59% of the vote.  However, he has refused to concede and is calling for the results to be annulled.  It is likely, however, that the electoral court will rule in favor of Peña Nieto.  In the meantime, the controversy continues.

There is a map available here, which shows how the candidates did in the 31 states of Mexico and the Federal District.  I invite interested readers to check it out, it's informative and fun.

The PAN candidate, Josefina Vazquez Mota, did poorly, garnering only a quarter of the vote nationwide.  In contrast, six years ago PANista Felipe Calderon won with 35%, edging out AMLO (the same one who ran this year) by a quarter of a million votes.

But the electoral map makes it look even worse.  Josefina won a plurality in only four states: Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato and Veracruz.  In those last two states, she edged out Peña Nieto by less than a percentage point.

As for AMLO and his PRD-led alliance, he won in seven states (Guerrero, Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Quintana Roo), and in Mexico City, the Federal District.

Peña Nieto won in all the other states.

Geographically, Peña Nieto carried all the northern tier of states except for Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, in the northeast.  The candidate won in the entire block of states from the northern border southward to the three states of Michoacan, Edomex (the State of Mexico) and Hidalgo, with the exception of Guanajuato.  Peña Nieto also won Chiapas, Campeche and Yucatan in southeastern Mexico.

Josefina carried three contiguous states: Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Veracruz, as well as Guanajuato.

AMLO carried the Federal District and the block of states continuing to the southeast to Oaxaca, and also Tabasco (his home state) and Quintana Roo.

Another way to put it is that the PRI won a plurality in the north, the west, and parts of the east. The PAN did best on the Gulf Coast and Guanajuato. The PRD did best in Mexico City and the states to its southeast, plus a few states farther east.

There was also a congressional election on July 1st. In fact, the entire Mexican Congress is replaced every six years.  In the new Congress, scheduled to take office in September, no one party has a majority.

Notice that for three months the new Congress serves under Calderon, the outgoing president.  Calderon swiftly recognized the triumph of Peña Nieto on July 1st, he has met with the president-elect, and he is working with him for a smooth transition.

In addition to the presidential and congressional elections, there were gubernatorial elections in six states.  The PAN candidate won in the state of Guanajuato, the PRI won in Jalisco, Chiapas and Yucatan, and the PRD won in Morelos and Tabasco.

As well, there were state legislature and municipal elections in Sonora, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Jalisco, Colima, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Morelos, Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche and Yucatan.  The state unicameral representatives and municipal presidents, or mayors, serve three year terms in Mexico.

For the Federal District post of Jefe de Gobierno, a six year Mexico City mayoral term, the winner was Miguel Angel Mancera of the coalition PRD/PAN/MC.  Mancera won with a majority, with 63.56% of the vote.  The PRD won a clear majority in the district's legislative assembly, and 14 of the 16 borough chiefs.


Note: Allan Wall was interviewed by Silvio Canto, Jr., on the latter's Internet radio program "Canto Talk," and the two discussed the Mexican elections.  You can listen to the interview here, a segment that begins after the nine-minute mark and lasts about 21 minutes.  Even Allan's dog joins the discussion, albeit briefly.


Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at

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