Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 1/23/2012
Former Mexico City attorney general Miguel Ángel Mancera wins the PRD’s internal poll, and with it the nod to represent the party in the July 1st mayoral election. The PRI breaks its electoral alliance with PANAL, the party led by teachers union boss Elba Esther Gordillo, while the presidential hopefuls from the PAN participate in a debate. The PRD´s presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador signs an economic pact with business leaders. Lastly, Mexican Institute colleagues offer views on the evolving electoral landscape.
The results of polls conducted among PRD supporters in Mexico City designed to help the party select its mayoral candidate in the July 1st election reveal a strong preference for Miguel Ángel Mancera, the city’s former attorney general. He surpassed the President of the Mexico City Legislative Assembly, Alejandra Barrales, his closest competitor in the lead up to the January 14-16 survey period and a member of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s presidential campaign team. Mancera has vowed to follow the example of Marcelo Ebrard, the current mayor, and López Obrador, if elected. In a November survey, the PRD received the support of 32 percent of intended votes, compared to 21 percent for the PRI and 10 for the PAN. However, the same poll showed Mancera was about half as well known as the PRI frontrunner Beatriz Paredes (45 vs. 88 percent). His candidacy will be ratified by the party’s state executive committee on February 11th.
López Obrador met and signed an economic pact last week with businessmen in the northern industrial hub of Saltillo. He committed not to raise taxes in real terms, to fight corruption in the energy sector, and to improve institutional coordination in his security policy if elected. To see more of López Obrador’s ideas, see Reuters’ extensive compilation of his policy proposals on security, the economic competitiveness, and energy policy, among other issue areas.
The three PAN hopefuls for their party’s presidential nod participated in a debate on January 18th. The event was a let-down for many observers; perhaps due in part to a “non-aggression pact” the candidates had agreed to previously. The daily Reforma complained that the candidates took turns enumerating their own policy ideas instead of debating them.
In the lead-up to the debate, El Informador asked three analysts about the impact of the PAN’s prolonged primary race on its place in the polls. The commentators concurred that the party’s “pre-campaign,” scheduled to end February 5th, has lasted months longer than the internal contests of the PRI and PRD, but has hardly affected the party’s overall support.
On January 21st, the PRI broke its electoral alliance with Nueva Alianza (PANAL), the party led by Elba Esther Gordillo, the powerful head of the teachers union. Enrique Peña Nieto downplayed the break, indicating it would have no effect on the party’s performance in July. The PAN’s Ernesto Cordero suggested considering PANAL as a possible ally, as it was in 2006; his opponent in the PAN primary Josefina Vázquez Mota dismissed the idea.
The PRI leadership in Mexico City agreed to hold an open poll to select its mayoral candidate for the summer election, as it did in 2006.
Other news and analysis
Mexico Institute Director Andrew Selee has two interesting new blog pieces related to the electoral contest. First, he looks at three possible scenarios for the July election outcome as he answers “Five Questions about Mexico and U.S.-Mexico Relations in 2012.” Second, he reviews recent publications by the presidential candidates: while “none of the three books is sufficient to understand the candidates themselves,” he writes, “[…] they offer an important glimpse into their thinking and the arguments they want to make to be elected president in 2012.”
In other news, Fox News Latino reports that few Mexican citizens residing in the U.S. are expected to vote in the upcoming presidential election, despite relaxed voting registration requirements. ITAM Professor Duncan Wood attributed part of this to a mismatch in the timing in the registration window, which ended on January 15th, and the actual campaigns, which officially begin in March:
“It’s a severe problem in the system. The lack of access to what is going on in the political campaigns and the fact the political parties are not active (in the U.S.) is what is holding it back.”
Lastly, celebrated Mexican author Carlos Fuentes lamented to host Carmen Aristeguí that Mexico is caught between “big problems” and “mediocre presidential candidates,” while the Council on Foreign Relations’ Shannon O’Neil looks at “How the Next [Mexican] President Can Reduce Poverty and Inequality.”