Political Thermometer

June 10, 2013
Political Thermometer

On July 7, 2013, 14 Mexican states will hold elections: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and Zacatecas. Naturally, all of the activity surrounding the elections causes Mexico's political temperature to rise. In fact, restlessness is beginning to show given that the Pact for Mexico among the three major parties, the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), by means of which they agreed to advance structural reforms and which got off to a great start, has suffered several setbacks leading up to the next political battle on the horizon. The most important election will occur in Baja California, which is the only state that will elect a governor this year. Elections in the other thirteen states will decide numerous mayoral and state congressional posts. Anticipation in Baja California is high, given that the PAN has governed for several consecutive terms as it maintained political leadership in this border state. At the onset, it was believed that polls showed the PRI candidate, Fernando Castro Trenti, in alliance with the Labor Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (Partido Encuentro Social), would win; nevertheless, as the election date approaches, his opponent, Francisco Vega, supported by PAN, PRD, PANAL and the State of Baja California Party (PEBC), is picking up momentum. A very close election is approaching that will heat up the political climate. For the PAN, and specifically for its party president, Gustavo Madero, this election is crucial as elections will be held in November to elect the new president of the party. A heated election is foreseen, as various groups are seeking to lead the PAN. Among such groups is the group of President Felipe Calderon. It has been stated that Felipe Calderon's wife, Margarita Zavala, who is very well positioned, may be the candidate for Calderonismo against Madero. If the PAN were to lose Baja California, the likelihood of Madero continuing to lead PAN would be severely diminished. Elections in the remaining 13 states appear to be a referendum on the PRI, which is still enjoying its honeymoon phase following Enrique Peña Nieto's capture of the presidency and, generally speaking, the party maintains support among voters. Nevertheless, nothing can be certain until the votes are counted in July.

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