Thursday, July 05, 2012

Mexican Election 2012 In Some Ways No Different Than 2008

Enrique Pena Nieto

Victory goes to Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Although Andres Manuel Lopez Orbador once more claimed he lost because of electoral corruption, at least it wasn't a repeat of 2008, when for 48 days the former Mexico City mayor lead street protests and demanded that all votes be recounted.  

With the PRI back in power the question is, will the party once more place a stranglehold on the country, stuffing ballot boxes, bribing the poor for votes, using whatever means at its disposal to squash all opposition, and generally making a mockery of the democratic process?

Slightly buried is the fact that Mexico is politically divided. It wasn't a landslide victory, Pena Nieto had a 6 or 7 point lead against Mr. Orbador, and garnered only 38 percent of the vote.

In Mexico, the economy grows, at least in part, due to cheap labor. The poor have been left behind. Under the conservative leadership of President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, who leaves office in January, Mexico's economy has flourished, but the poor have gained no ground.

Has the old PRI been replaced by the new PRI? Old PRI cronies did much to put Mr. Nieto in power. He is first and totally a political animal who decided at a very young age he would be a successful politician. A proficient chess player, in truth he is a man without a specific platform, other than winning. What kind of president will he make? Why did people vote for him?

I think, because bribery is so common in Mexican elections, people were urged to keep their vote secret. Many took this seriously and would not discuss whom they voted for and why. PRI supporters who did discuss their vote had pleasant memories of the repressive regime that brought enduring social programs such as universal health care and old age pensions. Most believe this Mexico is more sophisticated than the Mexico of the 20th Century and that it is no longer possible to repress the people.

The future becomes the present, and so it is that in the future we will know what the return of the PRI to power brings to the Mexican people. Today's present accuses the PRI of vote buying and several recounts of ballots are occurring ~ nothing new, same old, same old.

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