The State of Mexico, Coahuila, and Nayarit Elections: 7/3/2011

The State of Mexico, Coahuila, and Nayarit Elections: 7/3/2011

The PRI’s Sweep
Eric Olson, AL DÍA, News and Analysis from the Mexico Institute, 7/4/2011

Unofficial results from yesterday’s state elections in Mexico point to a dominant and confident PRI emerging from the first major test of the 2012 presidential election. Early results point to victories for the Institutional Revolutionary Party in three governor’s races, and in elections for mayors in a fourth.

In the most important of the elections, the PRI’s candidate for governor in the State of Mexico, Eruviel Avila, is far ahead of his rivals obtaining just over 62% in preliminary returns from 93% of the state’s 17,498 polling places. His closest competitor was Senator Alejandro Encinas of the center left coalition with roughly 21%, with the candidate of President Calderón’s party – the National Action Party – coming in a distant third at just over 12%.

The PRI also maintained control of governorships in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, and the northern border state of Coahuila, where the brother of the current PRI party president maintained the party’s dominance of the state.

Voting was mostly orderly, although there were 194 electoral complaints made on Sunday according to officials. The largest number was in the State of Mexico where 117 complaints were reported according to the El Universal newspaper. Most of the complaints involved vote buying, efforts to unduly pressure votes to cast ballots in a particular way, and illegal campaigning and use of government resources during voting. Despite these problems, the margins of victory in all states were such that the preliminary results are not expected to change.

The day’s biggest prize was in the State of Mexico where the outgoing PRI governor, Enrique Peña Nieto, is seen as the front runner in next year’s presidential election. The referendum was seen as a test of his ability to ensure the continuation of PRI dominance in the state after 82 years, and a referendum of sorts on his government and electability going forward.

The election provided another subtle test of the public’s attitudes towards the PRI – the party that dominated Mexican elections for more than seventy years until it was turned out of the Presidency in 2000 in a move toward greater plurality and a break with the past. The 2012 election will be, in part, a test of the PRI’s ability to rehabilitate itself and convince voters that they have reformed, modernized and hold the keys to a better future for Mexico. Score Round One for the PRI.

Read background on the state elections here

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