The Michoacán Election: 11/13/2011

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 11/14/2011

NEW: The Mexico Institute’s Eric Olson assesses violence in the Michoacán election, and what it says about Mexico’s upcoming election season (from November 18, 2011).

All three candidates declared victory on the night of the election

With 99.03 percent of votes counted, the Preliminary Elections Results Program (PREP) declared Fausto Vallejo of the PRI the winner of last night’s Michoacán gubernatorial election. All three candidates for governor had claimed victory on Sunday night, as the front runners appeared to be in a dead heat in polls, but by Monday morning Vallejo was nearly three percentage points ahead of Luisa María Calderón (35.38 to 32.66 percent). The PRD’s Silvano Aureoles trailed with 28.91 percent.

The tight election was closely watched as an indicator of next year’s presidential race. The PRI victory boosts momentum in this last state election before the 2012 presidential contest, and deprives the PAN of a symbolic victory in President Calderón’s home state. Luisa María Calderón had promised to continue her brother’s fight against organized crime in the state where he launched his assault against the drug cartels in 2006. The PRD, previously dominant in the state for ten years, had faced “criticism for the state’s drug violence, and some of its legislative candidates were accused of having close ties to drug cartels” in the lead-up to the election, according to The Washington Post.

There were fears some of this violence would affect the election, but overall the vote went relatively smoothly. A note in the city of La Piedad, 11 days after the mayor, Ricardo Guzmán, was killed while canvassing for several PAN candidates, warned voters to avoid wearing T-shirts or PAN advertisements “because we don’t want to confuse you and have innocent people die.” In the rural city of Cheran, residents “refused to let poll workers into their town amid demands for an election that they said would respect their customs and traditions. The indigenous Purépecha people who live in Cheran have in recent months wielded rifles and mounted roadblocks keeping out suspected illegal loggers and drug traffickers.” Elsewhere, the election apparently went smoothly.

Background resources:

  • 10/26/2011: A new GCE poll places PAN candidate Luisa María Calderón ahead. The PAN candidate, and President Calderón’s sister, is ahead of the PRI’s Fausto Vallejo by nine points (39 to 30). PRD candidate Silvano Aureoles polls 19 percent.
  • 10/3/2011: A BGC-Excélsior poll reveals the standings in the Michoacán gubernatorial election. The PRI and Green Party candidate, Fausto Vallejo, leads with 39 percent of the intended vote, followed by the PRD’s Silvano Aureoles with 35 percent. Luisa María Calderón, President Calderón’s sister, trails for the PAN with 26 percent. The debate amongst candidates has focused primarily on security issues, with the candidates agreeing about the urgent need to address insecurity but differing in their proposed solutions (more on their platforms can be found in this El Universal article).
  • 9/7/2011: In the lead up to the state election in Michoacán, the PAN’s state party leader Germán Tena announces that the party will not support a common candidate with the PRI in at least five municipalities because of the PRI’s suspected links to organized crime in those areas.
  • 8/31/2011: The Michoacán election season officially begins. President Calderón’s sister, Luisa María Calderón, is running as the Pan-Panal alliance candidate. Fausto Vallejo Figueroa is the PRI and Green Party (PVEM) candidate and Silvano Aureoles Conejo will run on the PRD, Covergencia, and Labor Party (PT) ticket.
  • 8/20/2011: Felipe Calderón’s sister, Luisa María Calderón, officially enters the Michoacán gubernatorial race on behalf of a PAN alliance for the November election.
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