Mexico’s federal election campaign will officially begin at the end of March. The election will be held on July 1, 2012
The media will be giving “blow by blow” reports about the party candidates’ policies and activities… The presidential term in Mexico is 6 years and under the Constitution, no re-election is possible.
For those who are not familiar with Mexican politics, I have compiled short bios of the three major parties:
Presidential Candidate: Enrique Peña Nieto
This party held the presidency in Mexico for the longest period of time 1929 – 2000. (There is often confusion about this because the party wasn’t always called the PRI, the earlier name was Partido Nacional Revolucionario or PNR) The party describes itself as Social Democratic. From 1929 to 1982, the PRI won every presidential election by well over 70 percent of the vote—margins that many believe were obtained by massive electoral fraud. The PRI’s dominance was near-absolute at all other levels as well. It held an overwhelming majority in the Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados) as well as every seat in the Senate (Senado) and every state governorship. Although the PRI is labeled as the party that spread corruption through the system, it should also be remembered that under this party’s leadership, much of Mexico’s modernization occurred. The party was finally ousted in 2000 by the PAN.
Presidential Candidate: Josefina Vazquez Mota
This party has held the presidency since 2000. It is right wing and traditionally known for its affiliation to big business and the church. The PAN was founded on September 17, 1939, after the Cristero insurgency was forced by the Mexican bishops to abandon the Cristero War. They were looking for a peaceful way to bring about change in the country and to achieve political representation, after the years of chaos and violence that followed the Mexican Revolution.
Presidential Candidate: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
In 1986 Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (former Governor of Michoacán and son of the much-loved former president of Mexico Lázaro Cárdenas) formed the Corriente Democrática – Democratic Current of the PRI, which criticized the federal government for reducing spending on social programs to increase payments on foreign debt. The members of the Democratic Current were expelled from the PRI and formed the Frente Democrático – National Democratic Front in 1987. Later named the PRD, the party decided on Cárdenas as presidential candidate for the 1988 presidential election which was won by Carlos Salinas de Gortari. There were allegations of electoral fraud in 1988, and the same accusation was leveled when the PAN candidate Felipe Calderon was declared the winner over Lopez Obrador in 2006.
On February 20th, polling of 1,000 eligible voters showed that the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto stands at 48 percent, followed by the PAN candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota, candidate at 32 percent, and PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at 20 percent.
It will be interesting how these figures wax and wane in the coming months.