Monday, July 06, 2009

Mid-Term Election in Mexico

The party which lost the last presidential election, Partido Revolucionario Institucional, made a strong stand in Sunday's mid-term elections. Five of the six governorships contested went to PRI candidates. In congress, the PRI now holds at least 233 seats and will have over 50 percent for its coalition with Mexico's Green Party, the PVEM.

Among bloggers and Western journalists, the consensus seems to be that this was a referendum on the achievements of president Felipe Calderon and the PAN. The unpopularity of the ongoing "war on drugs" being waged in many states of northern and central Mexico is emphasized by Nancy Davies of Narco News and is also mentioned by AP reporter Mark Stevenson.

In Oaxaca and other southern states, the PRI has remained firmly entrenched in power. The swing toward privatization and militarism championed by Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon has never garnered the support of the rural poor. Southern campesinos continue to vote for PRI candidates who claim to support their interests and carry on the historical mission of the Mexican revolution. Many have expressed disapproval, however, of the inept current governor of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz (pictured above). Ruiz has remained in power in spite of violent teachers' strikes and accusations of a rigged election back in 2004.

Sunday's results from Oaxaca conform to the general pattern of PRI resurgence. The extremely low voter turnout, however, does suggest some dissatisfaction with local PRI governance. Only 40.75% of registered voters even bothered to vote, according to Davies. We all have hopes that a better candidate than Ruiz will appear to take the reins of state in 2010.

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