Monday, August 20, 2012
The Newly Elected Mayor of Busy Mexico City will take office in December
By Allan Wall
In the recent
Mexican elections, held on July 1st, Mexicans went to the polls and elected a new president and an entirely new congress.
In addition, gubernatorial elections were held in six states, while legislative and municipal elections were held in 12 states.
In Mexico City, the Federal District, voters selected their next Jefe
de Gobierno, Miguel Angel Mancera, of the coalition PRD/PT/MC. Mancera is scheduled to take office on December
5th, replacing current Jefe Marcelo Ebrard.
To get an idea of
how the PRD alliance dominated the Mexico City election, consider that nationally Enrique Peña Nieto, of the PRI (Partido
Revolucionario Institucional), won the Mexican presidency with a plurality, with 38.21% of the vote, in a still-contested
election. In contrast, Mancera won the Mexico City mayoral post with a clear majority of 63.56% of the vote.
Not only that, but the PRD won a clear majority in the district's legislative assembly,
and the leadership posts of 14 of the city's 16 boroughs.
in other words, is politically dominated by the PRD and its allies. If you think about it, that's a rather big consolation
prize for the party which still claims it was robbed of the national election.
What kind of a city is Mexico City? Not only is it the capital of Mexico, it's also Mexico's financial
and economic hub, as well as the cultural and media center, all in all a fascinating urban area.
I invite the reader to peruse my article entitled Mexico City: Forward Looking City with a Pre-Hispanic Past. It includes some very nice photographs of the city, taken by my wife and children,
also available here.
Mexico's capital is a federal
district, not part of any state, with a similar status to Washington, D.C. in the U.S. In contrast to D.C., Mexico City
has representatives and senators in the Mexican Congress. Nevertheless, its governmental authority is still limited
and circumscribed, lacking powers of statehood. Yet through the years it has gained more authority to govern itself
than it formerly possessed. In 1997 it won the right to elect its own mayor, or Jefe de Gobierno.
The city is full of history and culture. It has more museums than any other city in
the world (about 160), over 100 art galleries, and 30 concert halls. Mexico is surpassed only by New York City, London and
Toronto in the quantity of theaters.
Mexico City is also home of the
UNAM, North America's oldest university and a number of others. There are stadiums, churches, markets and residential
areas of all social levels.
Although there are plenty of poor people in
the Mexican capital, its poverty level is lower than the Mexican average, and its residents have a higher GDP per capita than
most of Latin America.
As a huge, teeming city, the Federal District
has plenty of problems to challenge Miguel Mancera. These include the usual big city problems: crime, traffic, water
supply, waste removal, etc.
A good working relationship between the national
Mexican government and the city government would be a big help. After all, both the federal and district governments
are located within the same city!
President-elect Enrique Peña
Nieto is slated to take office as president of Mexico on December 1, whereas Miguel Mancera is scheduled to take office as
Mayor of Mexico City on December 5. Peña Nieto belongs to the PRI, while Mancera belongs to the PRD, which still
does not recognize Peña Nieto's victory.
If this situation
persists into December and beyond, what will the political ramifications be? Will it be like the past six years, in
which Mayor Marcelo Ebrard refused to appear publicly with President Felipe Calderon, and did not do so until 2011?
Will Mancera take his cue from Ebrard and from his party's losing presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,
who is still contesting the election?
The good news here is it appears
that Mexico's mayor-elect is his own man. In an interview in late July, Mancera stated that he plans to work with
the president of Mexico, whomever he may be.
That's a very good sign.
Mancera and Peña Nieto will have six years together so they may as well find a way to get along, somehow, for the good
of Mexico City and its millions of inhabitants.
Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years. His website is located