Can Mexico’s Electoral Authority Stop Criminal Funding?

May 11, 2015

5/11/2015 InSight Crime

voting mexicoMexico is weeks away from a landmark midterm election, but many analysts worry that the nation’s electoral authorities are dropping the ball as far as criminal organizations financing their preferred candidates.

On June 7, Mexico will elect the entire lower house of congress, nine governorships, and local offices in more than half the country. While the Senate and the presidency are not in play, it is the most important date in the electoral calendar prior to the 2018 election.

Against that backdrop, some analysts are worried that the nation’s campaign regulatory agency, the National Electoral Institute (INE), is not doing enough to prevent the flow of money stemming from organized crime into candidates’ campaign war chests. Jesus Tovar Mendoza, the Executive Director of the think tank Red de Estudios sobre la Calidad de la Democracia en America Latina, recently complained to E-Consulta that the statutes enforced by the INE are insufficient.

Read more…

For more analysis on Mexico’s 2015 midterm elections, visit the Mexico Institute’s 2015 Elections Guide.


Upcoming Event! Mexico’s Midterm Elections and the Peña Nieto Administration

May 11, 2015

Collage only_MonochromeWHEN: Monday, May 18, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Click here to RSVP.

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to an event on Mexico’s 2015 midterm elections. On June 7, 2015, more than 86 million Mexicans will have the opportunity to elect 500 federal deputies, 17 state-level legislatures, 9 governors, and more than 300 mayors. This new cohort of legislators will replace the group that approved the major reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto during the first year of his administration. The new Chamber of Deputies will be crucial for the second half of Peña Nieto’s term in office; finding room for negotiation may prove increasingly difficult as the presidential succession nears.

These elections represent a battle in which the PRI seeks to stay strong despite the President’s low approval ratings. Meanwhile, the PAN and the PRD are trying to overcome internal divisions and emerge stronger. The PRD’s internal challenges became external with the recent founding of MORENA, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which is emerging as a viable option for voters on the left. In fact, MORENA will be competing head to head with the Green Party (PVEM) to be the fourth national political force.

Speakers

Denise Dresser
Political Analyst and Professor, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Luis Carlos Ugalde
Director General, Integralia Consultores

Moderator

Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

RSVP here. 

Want to know more about Mexico’s midterm elections? Visit the Mexico Institute’s 2015 Election Guide.


Mexican Congress Expands Reach of Freedom-of-Information Law

April 17, 2015

ABC News, 4/16/2015

mexican-flag1Mexico’s Congress has approved freedom of information legislation that will allow public access to data from almost any entity that receives government funding.

The measure was passed Thursday in the lower house on a 264-68 vote and now goes to the president for his signature.

President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote in his Twitter account that the law “will strengthen the accountability of the Mexican government and combat corruption.”

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Mexico’s Election Watchdog Orders Ads Criticizing President to Be Pulled

April 16, 2015

04/15/15 Wall Street Journal 

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Mexico’s elections watchdog has ordered that an opposition political party’s TV and radio ads accusing President Enrique Peña Nieto of misspending taxpayers’ money be pulled from the airwaves for slandering the president, raising concerns about the ability of political parties to criticize the government. The National Electoral Institute said in a statement Tuesday that the advertisements from the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, contained “slanderous messages” and gave TV and radio companies 24 hours to stop running the spots. The TV ads criticize the president for allegedly taking along some 200 people with him as part of the official Mexican delegation during a March state visit to the U.K. The institute said that Mr. Peña Nieto complained that the ads “discredit and disqualify” the executive without offering “any proof.”

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Infographic: Local Elections in 2015 in Mexico

April 14, 2015

During the 2015 elections in Mexico, 17 states will renew governorships, municipalities, and/or local congresses. Outcomes at the local level could change the political map of the country. This infographic illustrates the states that will hold local elections in 2015, as well as the type of election each will hold.

For more news and analysis on the 2015 midterm elections, check out the Mexico Institute’s 2015 Elections Guide: https://mexicoinstituteonelections2015.wordpress.com/

Local elections map

Click here to view the infographic. 


Ordinary Opinions of Everyday Mexicans: Polling from the 1940s-2012

April 13, 2015

By Roderic Ai Camp, Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member
April 2015

mexican-flag1Abstract

The evolution of the importance of public opinion in Mexico is intertwined with the emphasis of scholars, both foreign and Mexican, introducing survey research techniques. These efforts became more common in the 1960s and 1970s, but became increasingly significant in the 1980s, when major newspapers and other publications begin to sponsor wide-ranging public opinion polls. Public opinion polls played a critical role in Mexico’s democratic political transition during the 1980s and 1990s, informing ordinary Mexicans about how their peers viewed candidates and important policy issues, while simultaneously allowing citizens, for the first time, to assess a potential candidate’s likelihood of winning an election before the vote, while also confirming actual election outcomes through exit polls. Polling data reveal changing social, religious, economic, and political attitudes among Mexicans over time, revealing the importance of both traditional and contemporary values in explaining citizen behavior.

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Democratizing Mexican Politics, 1982-2012

April 13, 2015

By Roderic Ai Camp, Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member
April 2015

Abstract
Mexico’s democratic transition provides a revealing case study of a semi-authoritarian political model evolving incrementally into an electoral democracy over two decades. One of the special features of that transition was its slow progress compared to its peers in Latin America, especially given its proximity to the United States, the most influential democracy in the last half of the 20th century.The first attempt to introduce fair, competitive elections occurred under the leadership of Miguel de la Madrid in 1983, but he reversed direction when he was opposed by leading politicians from his own party. His successor, Carlos Salinas (1988–1994), chose to pursue economic liberalization, opening up Mexico to greater competition globally, and negotiating an agreement with Canada and the United States (North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA), while maintaining an authoritarian presidency. During this era, proactive actors that fomented significant political change came from numerous sources. The following were particularly noteworthy in explaining Mexico’s shift to a democratic model: dissident elites who pushed for democracy inside the dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI); dissident elites who left PRI to form the most successful opposition parties in the 20th century, including the founding of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in 1989; social and civic movements originating from government incompetence in addressing the results of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, the widespread fraud during the 1988 presidential election, and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation uprising in 1994; the altered composition of political leadership from the establishment and the opposition characterized by stronger backgrounds in local, elective offices, party leadership, and nonpolitical careers; new electoral laws reinforcing independent decision-making regarding electoral practices and outcomes in the 1990s; and the introduction of new political actors supportive of democratic change, such as the Catholic Church.

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