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April 18, 2016

Political Thermometer

The year 2016 will be a busy political year for the United States as primary elections will be held by the two major political parties to nominate their presidential candidates, followed by the general election to elect the successor to President Barack Obama. In Mexico, presidential elections will not be held this year. Nevertheless, elections will be held to elect governors in 12 out of the 32 states. These elections could be referred to as the “preliminary elections” to the presidential election to be held in 2018, given that the elections for governor will be held in states of political and demographic importance. The results of these elections may resolve the impending question in 2018: Will the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI for its Spanish acronym) remain in power for six more years? The states that will hold elections for governor include Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Quintana Roo, Durango, Aguascalientes, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala and Zacatecas. Oaxaca and Puebla, currently not governed by the PRI, will try to avoid the return to power of such party by means of an odd coalition between the conservative National Action Party (PAN for its Spanish acronym) and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD for its Spanish acronym). In other states, a high likelihood of independent candidates exists, which is a common trend due stemming from citizen’s disenchantment with political parties. For instance, Nuevo Leon, a state with political significance, is currently governed by an independent candidate. It is believed that for the 2018 presidential election, a movement in favor of independent candidates who are not aligned with political parties could emerge, thus changing the traditions of many past Mexican elections. In addition, and outside of the traditional electoral calendar, Mexico City must hold elections to choose 60 individuals who will form part of a Constitutional Convention for Mexico City which, following the political reform, will cease to be the Federal District to become Mexico City or Ciudad de México (CDMX). These 60 members along with 40 others appointed by the political parties, the President and the Head of State of Mexico City will be tasked with drafting the Constitution for the capital of the country. Nevertheless, the state elections and those held in Mexico City will surely increase the political temperature in Mexico. The results of these elections will show whether the idea of independent candidates continues to advance, whether the coalitions are successful and whether it is possible for the PRI to stay in power for six more years.

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