Political Thermometer

April 7, 2015
Political Thermometer

Political Thermometer

Political Thermometer Three years ago, when 500 representatives of Mexico’s Federal Congress took office, no one could have imagined that the Country’s political temperature would rise as much as it has three months prior to the election of the new House of Representatives. Not only will federal elections occur, but 2,159 positions will be at stake, the most notable being nine governors and 16 borough chiefs in the Federal District. The positions in the Federal District are comparable to those of mayors. The federal election process is substantial, since nearly 1,000 mayors in 16 states and 641 local representatives will be elected this summer. Mexico’s political parties find themselves, for several reasons, in a complicated position. Some of the reasons are internal, such as conflict within the parties, while others arise from external factors, such as the political perception that the political parties are responsible for events that have affected society in general, including the regrettable events that occurred in Iguala, in which 42 students disappeared and six more were killed. In this sense, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) carries the heaviest burden. Those with primary responsibility for this tragedy potentially include the mayor of Iguala and his wife, along with PRD militia, who are now incarcerated and have been associated with organized criminal groups dedicated to drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as extortion, murder and kidnapping. The PRD has also had to face the problem of losing members such as Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, which has given rise to the exodus of other leftist political figures who have seriously questioned the current leadership. The National Action Party (PAN) is experiencing something similar, owing to a struggle between the current leader, Gustavo Madero, and politicians tied to former president Felipe Calderon, which have weakened the conservative party. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of current President Enrique Peña Nieto has demonstrated its discipline in designating party leaders, which is characteristic of such party. In this case, the head of the PRI is the President of México, and the solidarity of the party during these difficult times of widespread questioning of the President could complicate the political future of the governing political party, which seemingly cannot rid itself of the ghost of corruption and impunity. Dissidence in the country, specifically violent protests against the students’ disappearance in the state of Guerrero, threatens to derail planned elections in such state. Mexican citizens have many questions with respect to the June elections: (i) Will a reasonable percentage of citizens vote, or will the electoral phenomenon of abstention return? (ii) Will elections be held in the state of Guerrero, which is under a major crisis due to the events in Iguala? (iii) Will the current composition of the House of Representatives change and will another political party other than the PRI gain a majority? (iv) How will citizens embrace the new political parties, particularly MORENA, the new political party of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, which caused division within the PRD? and (v) Will the PRI have the majority of governors in their political party, or will there be any surprises? There are many questions; however, what is certain is that the temperature will rise to a boiling point.

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