The Week in Review: 10/31/2011

Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 10/31/2011

Luisa María Calderón

CSIS features a new profile of Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRD’s quest for party unity continues, Santiago Creel breaks from President Calderón’s security strategy, and the PAN candidate (and the President’s sister) pulls ahead in the lead-up to the November 13th gubernatorial election in Michoacán. 

 

The PRI

The PRI has announced a planned electoral alliance with Nueva Alianza, the party founded by teachers’ union boss Elba Esther Gordillo in 2005. Gordillo was previously expelled by the PRI in 2005 after an internal power struggle.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has released a new profile on Enrique Peña Nieto and the rise of the PRI by Dr. Duncan Wood, a professor at ITAM and senior advisor the CSIS and the Mexico Institute. Of particular interest is his treatment of the role of the media in this election:

The question of communication and public relations was identified by Peña Nieto’s team as far back as 2005, when it signed a long-term, multimillion dollar deal with Televisa, the country’s dominant TV network, to buy air time for the governor to promote his programs, provide coverage of his activities, and boost his presence in national news. Along the way, Peña Nieto married a star of Televisa’s soap operas, Angelica Rivera, which provided extra coverage from the Mexican popular press and television media, with magazines such as Cara, Quién,  and Hola! carrying multipage photo spreads of the wedding. Their marriage even received the personal blessing of Pope Benedict XVI as the couple visited Rome accompanied by senior ranking bishops from the Mexican church.

The media’s obsession with Peña Nieto and his private life has led commentator Carmen Aristegui to suggest that the 2012 election will be the first Mexican election to be decided by television. The involvement of both Televisa and TV Azteca (Mexico’s second TV network) with the former governor raises serious questions about impartiality. These are media monopolies that have felt threatened during the Calderón administration as the federal government tried to limit their power, and it therefore makes sense for them to build a relationship with, and drive the campaign of, a candidate who will likely be more sympathetic to them.

The PRI will hold its internal election on February 8th, 2012 (see more dates on our Timeline).

 

The PRD

After last week’s internal election debacle (background here, under “The PRD”), the party struggled to maintain an image of unity. Party president Jesús Zambrano has called for a rapprochement between the different currents, as former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula has urged.

Experts are divided about Ebrard’s chances of becoming the PRD’s nominee. The online news site Animal Político features a discussion about the likelihood of his candidacy between almost 30 political observers here (in Spanish).  For his part, Marcelo Ebrard has agreed with historian Enrique Krauze that he could be a Lula-like figure for Mexico.

Ebrard and Andrés Manuel López Obrador met last week to discuss the terms of the internal election process. The party hopes to hold its internal election by November 15th.

 

The PAN

Santiago Creel announced that he would break from President Calderón strategy against organized crime if elected, telling Reuters that:

…President Felipe Calderon’s military strategy had served its course and that he would change “everything” as leader. “The direct, frontal, expansive strategy is a strategy that should end with this administration,” said Creel.

Creel remains second in the PAN’s internal race, with 26.4 percent of the intended vote, compared to Josefina Vázquez Mota, who fell six points (from 50.8 to 44.6 percent) since mid-October but remains in the lead. Ernesto Cordero’s support has slowly increased, and is currently at 19.8 percent, according to the latest GCE poll.

As we discussed last week, the PAN has decided on a closed election among active and affiliated members on February 15th, 2012.


Other news

PAN gubernatorial candidate (and President Calderón’s sister) Luisa María Calderón is now leading the polls in the lead-up to the election for governor of Michoacán on November 13th. She polls 39 percent of the intended vote, compared to the PRI’s 30 percent and the PRD’s 16 percent. See the polls and analysis on that race here.

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