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In Mexico elections, PRI makes gains but appears to lose 3 key states

Gabino Cue Oaxaca election 2010

Mexico's political map shifted only slightly in Sunday's gubernatorial elections, with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, grabbing nine out of 12 contests. But a multiparty alliance across ideological lines appears to have beaten back the resurgent party in three contests, winning Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa.

In results (the front-page of is currently carrying updates), the PRI essentially swapped three states with the alliances consisting of the conservative PAN (National Action Party), leftist PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), and various smaller parties. The implication is that the new multiparty coalitions can be successful in fighting back the PRI, which is seeking to take back the presidency in the 2012 elections.

Sunday's elections were marred by reports of violence, voter intimidation and the growing influence of drug traffickers. A week before, the PRI's candidate for governor of Tamaulipas was shot and killed along with four others. Rodolfo Torres' brother stepped into the candidacy after the attack, easily handing the state to the PRI. In Oaxaca, 39 people were detained Sunday after authorities discovered bomb-making materials in two hotels in Oaxaca City.

The voting raises the stakes considerably for the next national election.

Voters booted the PRI from power 10 years ago after more than 70 years of one-party, authoritarian rule. In recent elections under the party's president, Beatriz Paredes, the PRI has made strong gains, branding itself as reborn and reformed. The PRI has capitalized on Mexicans' memories of relative stability under its rule. Mexico has faced spiraling drug violence and economic duress under two successive PAN presidents, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon.

Mexico electoral map 2010

Here's the breakdown from Sunday's voting, based on tallies that are not yet official. PRI wins:

Aguascalientes, formerly PAN




Quintana Roo


Tlaxcala, formerly PAN


Zacatecas, formerly PRD

The PAN-PRD-led alliances win:

Oaxaca, formerly PRI

Puebla, formerly PRI

Sinaloa, formerly PRI

The race in Oaxaca had been closely watched. The PRI has governed Oaxaca for 80 years, but saw its hold on power challenged under Gov. Ulises Ruiz, who oversaw a violent repression against leftist resistance groups in the city of Oaxaca in 2006 and is linked to a paramilitary organization believed responsible for recent incidents of violence in rural areas (see here and here). Oaxacan voters on Sunday gave the most votes to the Peace and Progress Coalition led by Gabino Cue, pictured above (links in Spanish), a knockout loss for the PRI.

In other non-gubernatorial races, the PRI swept the PAN out of various significant municipal seats in one of its original strongholds, Baja California. PRI candidates swept all five city halls, in Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, Tecate, and Rosarito, signaling a polar shift for the border state (link in Spanish). However, on the opposite end of Mexico, in Chiapas, the PAN-PRD alliances beat the PRI in major municipal contests, winning the capital Tuxtla Gutierrez, as well as San Cristobal de las Casas, Ocosingo, and Tapachula.

Sunday's outcome raises questions about the future of politics in Mexico.

If the PRI recaptures the presidency in 2012, will it revert to past governing strategies of repression, patronage and corruption? If ideologically awkward alliances can defeat the PRI in regional races, is one possible for a national ticket? And can conservatives and leftists actually govern together?

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Opposition candidate Gabino Cue celebrates his win in Oaxaca during Sunday's elections. Credit: El Economista

Image of gubernatorial election results courtesy of El Universal.

Comments () | Archives (4)

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An alliance of conservative catholic PAN with liberal secular PRD seems absurd as historically these are the forces that have fought against each other in the Independence, the war of Reformation, the French Invasion and the Revolution (with the liberals winning each of these fights by the way). However it is possible and it happened when the PRI included all the ideological spectrum in its monopoly of government.

The Mexican government is at war with the cartels and itself. Corruption is embedded into the structure of the Mexican government. The government of Mexico decided to confront that corruption. California is one of several states in the US that has a network of marijuana dispensaries. The Los Angeles city council gave these pot dispensaries the okay. No doubt, these dispensaries are being supplied through Mexican cartels. The city council of Los Angeles also boycotted the Arizona SB1070 immigration law, calling it bigotry while there is a definite breach in national security on the borderline of Arizona and Mexico. We, as Americans, should not yield to the politicians of our city governments when they make concessions to illegal schemes such as illegal immigration, and contraband marijuana. The citizens residing in the districts of cities know that they can recall their council person who is supporting corruption. We should not let corruption gain a foothold in America like it did in Mexico to start with. The politicians in Los Angeles know better than to label the corruption with bigotry.

The US drug war is destroying Mexico’s immature democracy. Drug cartels and their backers are steadily penetrating Mexican political power. Politicians are murdered, candidates are afraid to run for office and voters are afraid to vote. If it’s not stopped soon, the damage will be irreversible.

The US drug war causes an epidemic of violence and corruption that threatens Mexico’s survival. Government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and wealthy Mexican drug cartels.

The way to cripple drug cartels and California street gangs is legalize cannabis. It delivers big money to cartels and gangs. They grow it cheap and make huge profits on high prices. Legalizing cannabis will wipe out over 60% of their profits.

Hey thanks for the wrap up- i was trying to find some info yesterday about which states had elections and i was not successful- sera que soy pocho.

It is interesting in my own family- the ones that use to support el PAN all now live in the USA. The ones that still live in Mexico are "adinerados" they got cash and PRI supporters.

FYI- Guanajuato and Zacatecas heritage here.


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Ken Ellingwood
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