Katie Putnam, The Mexico Institute’s Elections Guide, 9/12/2011
A new poll shows a clear advantage for Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), who delivered an important speech this past week, and for Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN), who along with outgoing Treasury Secretary Ernesto Cordero, has now officially joined the race for the PAN’s nomination. The PRI and PRD each formalized their timelines for deciding their electoral strategies, and the PAN ruled out alliances with the PRI in certain municipalities in the November state elections in Michoacán due to the PRI’s suspected links to organized crime in those areas.
First, front-runner and outgoing State of Mexico governor Enrique Peña Nieto delivered his sixth and final state-of-the-state address this week. He emphasized that Mexico is missing an “efficient state” that can put the “clear [national] project… into practice in the daily lives of all Mexicans.”
CNN México noted that the address “looked like an act of acceptance of the presidential nomination.”
While much can change before the election, current polls suggest this conjecture may not be too far off. A new poll by Jorge Buendía of Buendía y Laredo shows “clear comparative advantages” for both the PRI and Governor Enrique Peña Nieto in next year’s elections, with “both higher positives and lower negatives than other parties and candidates,” according to the Mexico Institute Director Andrew Selee.
Lastly, the party leaders agreed on a timeline for the lead-up to 2012 election. The party will decide by September 25th whether to select its candidate at a convention of delegates or through an open process; by November 16th, it will determine whether or not to form electoral alliances. The PRI presidential candidate will be selected by February 5th, 2012.
Two presidential contenders formally joined the contest for the PAN nomination this week. Josefina Váquez Mota requested leave of her congressional post on September 7th. The Buendía poll mentioned above shows a “decisive advantage” for Vázquez Mota in the PAN primaries for now, writes Selee. She is now set to begin a national tour to promote her “Mexico Fuerte” (“A Strong Mexico”) campaign.
Ernesto Cordero, most recently the Treasury Secretary, stepped down on September 9th to contend for the PAN nomination as well. The Calderón administration announced a major cabinet reshuffle on September 9th, with the Secretary of Energy José Antonio Meade Kuribreña set to replace Cordero.
Lastly, citizens had the chance to ask President Felipe Calderón direct questions about his state of the union address in a virtual town hall meeting facilitated by Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member Manuel Tamez of Google-Mexico. The video is available here.
As Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas doubts whether the conditions are right for his run for the PRD’s presidential nomination, the party’s process for selecting its candidate grew more complicated.
The party leaders and possible candidates had agreed to use party member polls to determine the candidate on August 21st (see our analysis here), but now the Morena movement (El Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional, el Partido del Trabajo y Movimiento Ciudadano) and Andrés Manuel López Obrador are proposing that perhaps parallel polls, with the Labor Party (PT) and Morena on one ballot and the PRD on the other, might be better. We will follow this prospect as it develops.
The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) has mandated that voters from abroad in the 2012 election will be able to mail their ballots for free. The Institute hopes this will boost the participation of voters living outside of Mexico. Voting from abroad was allowed for the first time in 2006 and was not utilized as much as expected with only about 32,000 people participating. During the 2006 process, the cost of mailing a ballot was approximately $30 USD.
In the lead up to the November 13 state election in Michoacán, the PAN’s state party leader Germán Tena has announced 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.