February 15, 2012
This year, 2012, there are presidential elections scheduled in both the U.S.A. and in Mexico. This is already providing plenty of grist for the mill of the media and interested voters of both countries.
Mexican presidential elections are scheduled for July 1st. The winner then has 5 months to wait until taking office in December, replacing current president Felipe Calderon. In the Mexican system, a presidential term lasts six years with no re-election permitted.
Besides the presidential race , there are congressional elections also scheduled for July 1st. All 128 members of the Mexican Senate are elected to 6-year terms, and all 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies (500 members) are chosen. Also, 6 states have gubernatorial elections.
As of February 5th, all the major parties have selected their candidate.
The three principal parties are the PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, the Party of the Democratic Revolution), the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the Institutional Revolutionary Party), and the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional, the National Action Party).
On November 16th, 2011, the PRD chose as its candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known by his initials AMLO.
On November 21st, 2011, Enrique Pena Nieto, became the candidate for the PRI.
And finally, on February 5th, 2012, the PAN primary election was held, with the winner being Josefina Vazquez Mota, making her the candidate.
Mexico has three major political parties. One should be careful in comparing political parties internationally, as each country has its own particularities and you can’t fit Mexican political parties into exact equivalencies with, say, parties in the U.S.A.
Bearing this in mind, though, the “left-right” political spectrum can be useful. Analyzing these three parties by Mexican political standards would put the PRD on the left, the PAN on the right, and the PRI somewhere in the middle.
Looking at it individually, who are these three candidates, each of whom wants to be the next president of Mexico?
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADO (known by his initials AMLO) was born in 1953 in Macuspana in the eastern Mexican state of Tabasco. (See map here).
AMLO served as the PRD´s president from 1996 to 1999. Following that, from 2000 to 2005, he was head of government of the Federal District, Mexico City.
In 2006, Lopez Obrador was the party’s presidential candidate. The 2006 election was very close, and Felipe Calderon defeated Lopez Obrador with less than 1% of the vote. AMLO refused to concede defeat, insisting he had been robbed and massive protests ensued. Now Lopez Obrador is back for another try.
ENRIQUE PENA NIETO was born in the city of Atlacomulco, in the state of Mexico. This state is located north of the Federal District, and in fact includes part of the Mexico City metropolitan area. (See map here).
Pena Nieto was governor of the state of Mexico from 2005 to 2011.
JOSEFINA VAZQUEZ MOTA was born in 1961 in Mexico City. (See map here). In the 2006 election, she was Felipe Calderon’s campaign manager. From 2006 to 2009, she served as Secretary of Education in the Calderon cabinet, after which she served as a representative in the Mexican Congress.
After campaigning for the internal selection of the PAN, Josefina Vazquez Mota won the party’s nomination on February 5th, 2012.
That makes the slate complete. Each of the three major parties now has its presidential candidate.
Has the race begun then?
Well, yes and no.
Officially, campaigning does not begin until March 31st.
We know though, that if the party’s candidates are chosen, that in reality the campaign is going on. Although the contenders can’t officially “campaign”, they and their advisers are carefully considering what they say and do, with a view as to how it would affect their run for president.
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On March 31st, the campaign officially begins and the gloves are off.
Polling is already going on as well, with Pena Nieto currently leading in the polls. A lot could transpire, however, before July 1st.
There is plenty for the candidates to discuss and argue about and plenty for Mexican voters to consider.
© 2012 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.