Political Thermometer

March 10, 2013
Political Thermometer

The political temperature is rising in Mexico as the July elections of local mayors and legislators approach in 14 states. Elections will be held in Quintana Roo, Durango, Veracruz, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Coahuila, Baja California, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes. The states with the most offices up for election are Oaxaca, with 612 offices at stake, and Tlaxcala with 483 posts on the line, consisting of local legislative and mayoral races. Furthermore, Baja California will also elect a governor. The question in this state is whether the PRI will be able to overcome the PAN's dominance in Baja California for the past few administrations. The elections will end on July 7. Forecasts once again appear to favor the PRI, and it is possible that the party could see a repeat of its victory in the July 2012 presidential election. Of the three major political parties (PRI, PAN and PRD), the PRI is the only party that has maintained unity, which was only strengthened when its candidate captured the presidency. The PAN, as stated by party president, Gustavo Madero, lacks direction after its defeat in the presidential race, while the PRD is divided following the departure of its former leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who left to form a new leftist political party. However, the question remains as to whether recent decisions taken by the PRI will have an effect on the elections in July. In its recent National Assembly, the PRI amended its Bylaws and platform by cancelling express provisions, known as "locks," in order to avoid (1) imposition of the Value Added Tax on foods and drugs; and (2) opening PEMEX to private investment. Party decisions favoring structural reforms such as comprehensive tax reform and energy reforms modernizing the country's energy sector will be seized by the opposition to attack the PRI by alleging that the party does not look out for the interests of the people. PRI members will face the challenge of convincing voters that, if such reforms are adopted by Congress, they will benefit the Mexican economy, so consequently the pocketbooks of the general public will have the last say during the upcoming elections in July. The temperature will continue to rise as July draws closer.

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