They’re still counting, or re-counting, the votes in Mexico. Enrique Peña Nieto of the once-all-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was (probably) elected the country’s next president this past Sunday with about 38% of the vote. The results remain contested because the second-place finisher, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has challenged them, alleging various kinds of fraud and demanding a total recount.
Adhering to the results of three independent polls of Mexico City’s registered voters, Mexico’s center-left electoral coalition, known in this election cycle as the Progressive Movement Coalition, or, informally, the coalition of “the lefts,” agreed last Thursday to nominate Miguel Ángel Mancera to be its candidate to govern Mexico City.
There is a broad movement for an end to the violence that has been gripping many parts of Mexico. But there is a major disconnect between, on the one hand, the movements that have arisen from (and remain in) civil society and, on the other hand, movements that seek state power through the organization of political parties.
With the virtual nomination of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as presidential candidate of Mexico’s multiple lefts last week, the 2012 Mexican campaign began to define itself. Two independent polling agencies confirmed what followers of Mexican politics already knew: López Obrador, the left’s 2006 presidential nominee, is one of the most popular and charismatic figures on the left and also one of the most polarizing.
As this is written, Mexico’s electoral lefts are anxiously awaiting the results of two public opinion polls that will determine the identity of their presidential candidate in next summer’s national election. The polls are meant to measure the relative strengths of the left’s two declared presidential candidates: 2006 presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Mexico City’s current mayor, Marcelo Ebrard.
As Mexico gears up for next summer’s presidential election, the country’s electoral “lefts” are deeply divided. The mere fact that Mexico’s “lefts” are almost always referred to here in the plural, even when the discussion is limited to the electoral arena, highlights this division.
To no one’s great surprise, Mexico’s once-and-future ruling party (or so it seems), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), scored major victories in four state elections this Sunday. Mexico State has been governed by the PRI (or its direct ancestors) for over 80 years and that was not expected to change after Sunday’s election. The magnitude of the party’s victory, however, was surprising, impressive and a worrisome sign of its return to hegemony.