On June 4, 2017, Mexico had elections in 4 of its 32 States. The States which held elections were Nayarit, Coahuila, Veracruz, and the State of Mexico.
These elections were crucial for Mexico since they are a close look at what could happen in the 2018 General Elections, which will feature the Presidential, Congressional, and various Governorship and Mayoral elections.
This election was also pretty important since Coahuila, Nayarit, and the State of Mexico are Governed by Mexico’s ruling party: The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Coahuila and the State of Mexico have been governed by the PRI since 1929, thanks to electoral fraud, irregularities, buying votes, and banning leftist opposition parties.
The State of Mexico (commonly referred to as “Edomex”) is the most important of those three states since it is PRI’s stronghold, it’s the most populated State in the country, and it’s also the richest State.
It is pretty well known that the State of Mexico is one of the states which has the largest number of femicides in the country. Edomex is also pretty well-known in Mexico as one of the most dangerous, corrupt, and poorest states in the country.
Even though 49% of Edomex’s population is living below the poverty line, these 2017 Governorship Elections have been almost as pricey as the 2012 Presidential Elections (all of them funded by taxpayers).
Considering all of the above, you can get a small glance of what it is like living under the PRI for more than 80 years.
The people of the State of Mexico were tired of the Government, the PRI, and the political dynasties which have been governing the State for decades.
There were five main candidates for the 2017 Governorship elections:
- Alfredo Del Mazo Maza (PRI-PVEM-PANAL-PES Coalition): President Peña Nieto’s cousin as well as the son and grandson of Former State of Mexico’s Governors Alfredo del Mazo González and Alfredo del Mazo Vélez, respectively.
- Delfina Gómez Álvarez (Morena): A former school teacher who became Texcoco’s Mayor and is now a Federal Deputy in Congress. She was the favorite among leftist voters.
- Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN): Former Secretary of Education and 2012 Presidential Candidate from the right-wing National Action Party. She is pretty well-known for her corruption, including the time she took taxpayer money for a non-governmental organization she had (which showed no transparency when utilizing that money).
- Juan Zepeda (PRD): The Mayor of the city of Nezahualcóyotl. Even though his policies and record were pretty good, he was shadowed by the big unpopularity his party has thanks to its neoliberal stances and its backstabbing of the left.
- Teresa Castell (Independent): She is a business woman who has been known to have ties with the PRI.
All five candidates contended in Edomex’s election.
Polls suggested Zepeda, Vázquez Mota, and Castell were obviously going to lose, since they were far below Delfina Gómez and Del Mazo. Delfina Gómez, although not being a perfect candidate, was a clear and viable alternative to the PRI in the State of Mexico.
Her record suggested that poverty and criminality, especially femicides, had decreased in Texcoco when she was Mayor. She also voted against the controversial laws that caused the “Gasolinazo,” which spiked oil prices to the point of them being pricier than the U.S.’s, but we should note Mexico’s minimum wage is about $3.94 dollars per day. The Gasolinazo also made costs rise for almost every product. Del Mazo, obviously, voted in favor of the Gasolinazo.
On June 4, people voted against PRI. They wanted to punish the Institutional Revolutionary Party. They wanted them to be out of Government.
According to polls, Delfina and Del Mazo would get about 30% of the voting intention, which is less than half of the vote share for each, but thanks to Mexico’s electoral system, which doesn’t allow a second round of voting, most Governors, Mayors, and Presidents get that kind of vote share. This is problematic because elected officials aren’t chosen by the majority of the people, which can lead to big unfavorable ratings when they get elected.
During the voting process, there were countless allegations of PRI militants buying votes in poor communities and intimidating people into voting for Del Mazo. Two Morena militants disappeared in PRI’s strongholds: Atlacomulco (hometown of Peña Nieto and Del Mazo’s family) and Metepec.
There were also allegations of the State of Mexico’s election being an “Elección de Estado,” suggesting it was an election that was rigged by the Federal Government since President Peña Nieto did a tour in Edomex right before the elections took place. All Peña Nieto’s cabinet members and important PRI figures campaigned in the Edomex and spent, illegally, big amounts of public funds to promote PRI’s candidate: Alfredo Del Mazo.
Aside from all of this, we have to also add the fact that several citizens denounced Programa de Resultados Electorales Preliminares, PREP (the institution which had the job of counting the votes), claiming they were committing electoral fraud. There are even videos which show how, intentionally, they were counting votes wrongly to inflate Del Mazo’s votes.
In the end, the PREP said that Del Mazo won with 33% of the vote, while Delfina got about 31%, all of this with electoral fraud, PRI buying votes, and the Federal Government trying to influence the election to favor Del Mazo.
According to various polls, if Delfina Gómez and Del Mazo had gotten to a second round of voting, Delfina would have won by more than a 20% margin.
Morena has already denounced the Edomex elections and they’re asking for a recount. They are also denouncing the fact that Del Mazo used more money for his campaign than what is permitted. Even Congresswoman Rocio Nahle (Morena) has spoken against the electoral fraud done in the State of Mexico elections.
PAN and the PRD are silent, and even former President Felipe Calderón (PAN) has called Morena’s allegations of electoral fraud in Edomex “ridiculous,” and while this happens, Morena is supporting PAN in their fight against another case of electoral fraud, which happened in the state of Coahuila were the Moreira family (another political dynasty from the PRI) is trying to retain power.
Even if Morena ends up losing the election, they already “won” in a sense, because they are the party which grew the most in the State of Mexico, to the point of being such a political threat to the PRI that it had to suppress by all means necessary the possibility of them winning – all of this with Morena having only existed for three years.
Morena and left-wing populism are rising in Mexico. The people are getting tired of the Establishment, exemplified by the PRI, PAN, and PRD.
Mexico is a country with great potential but, thanks to its corruption and neoliberal politicians, it is getting worse year after year.
We always see in the news stories about dictatorships like the ones in Venezuela and Cuba, supposedly “socialist” nations, which the media fearmongers about, but why don’t we hear about Mexico and its Government which was called by famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa: “The Perfect Dictatorship”?
Mainstream media probably never talks about the repression, violence, corruption, and fraud in Mexican politics because Mexico is part of NAFTA and it is a neoliberal country, just like the U.S., so it has to be fine, right?
Mexico shows that neoliberal, capitalist countries can be as authoritarian and repressive as any “socialist” country the media fearmonger about.