PRI RETAKES THE MEXICAN PRESIDENCY

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PAN also rebuked in governor races

By Nadin Abbott

July 2, 2012 (San Diego)-- Enrique Peña Nieto has been declared the winner of  Mexico’s federal election yesterday. Mexico, unlike the United States, has a one-term limit for every office, from Mayor to President. His defeat of the PAN counterpart, Josefina Vazquez Mota, was not unexpected. All polling going into the election had Peña Nieto ahead by five to ten points.

In early returns it appeared that the PRI had also retaken the house with their allies in the Green Party, however later returns, after 98% of votes counted, now show that the PRI did not regain control of the House.

The Mexican system does not have single candidates run for Congressional or Senatorial offices, but instead has slates that gain office through proportional representation, not unlike many European systems. Why this matters is that over the last six years, the current President Felipe Calderón (PAN)  had to fight a Congress that was utterly divided and refused to pass much of his plans. It will remain to be seen if the PAN will try to be an absolute opposition party, or a loyal opposition.

Another important marker in the cultural and political maturity of Mexico was the prompt concession by PAN candidate Mota after her third place finish.

Not surprising, Manuel Lopez Obrador with the PRD, who placed second with 32.28% of the vote—less than four percentage points behind Nieto, announced he will challenge the results of the elections as he did in 2006. In reality the margin between Obrador and Nieto is likely too large for him to overcome.

Lastly, a newcomer under the new independent candidate system, citizen candidate Gabriel Quadri de la Torre declared his candidacy three months ago. While he did not do well in the polls, his program and ideas gained 2.55% of the vote and  his party, while small, is worth watching. Partida Nueva Alianza (PANAL) is built after classic Mexican liberalism, which was the Party of Benito Juarez, in the 19th century.

Here are the results announced by the Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) at 11:15 P:M local time, when they declared Peña Nieto, an attorney and former governor, as the virtual winner. His platform focused on tax reform, economic growth, social security and job creation.

PAN 26.82%

PRI 36.19%

PRD 32.28%

Nueva Alianza 2.55%

With more than ten percent of all votes counted, this result will have to be confirmed by the total count, starting on July 4, with a review of all legal documents and certification by the IFE and later by the High Court. The FAQ linked bellow contains most answers to questions on the elections.

http://www.ifes.org/~/media/Files/Publications/White%20PaperReport/2012/Mexico_FAQs_English.pdf

Last night during his acceptance speech, Peña Nieto vowed "not to negotiate with the cartels, or a cease fire." He also vowed to meet and listen to the youth, who have challenged him through the Yo Soy #132 movement.  He vowed,  "I am determined to continue a democratic life. We all are a new generation. There is no return to the past." With this Peña Nieto alluded to charges that the old guard was taking over, sending a message that this is a new PRI.

President Calderón also addressed the nation after calling the President elect. He vowed to work with the President elect during the transition.  He added, "In democracy there are no permanent victories or defeats…Who wins [are] the people of Mexico,"

There is another surprise: Mexico’s state governor mansions taken back by the PRI.--Jalisco, Quintana Roo and Yucatán. The Pan kept the state of Hidalgo, while the PRD took Morelos. It does look like the elections were a partial rebuke of the PAN.

Sentiments of Mexico’s voters may be summed up by a woman on the trolleythis morning, who declined to give her name. "All politicians steal, but at least we could walk in the streets when the PRI was in charge,” she told ECM. “ I'm from Acapulco, and three of my relatives have been kidnapped. The last one, we paid already, but we don't know his fate yet."