Mexico’s ruling party battles leftist nemesis in key state vote

5/24/2017 Reuters

voting mexicoNine decades of rule by President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico’s most populous state are hanging in the balance in an election that could batter its hopes of keeping power nationally in 2018.

Polls show the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), the new party of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, could wrest control of the state of Mexico from the PRI by winning the governorship in the June 4 state election, a result that would ramp up the momentum for his bid to succeed Pena Nieto in 2018.

Headstrong and with more nationalist leanings than the centrist PRI, two-time presidential runner-up Lopez Obrador has led early opinion polls for next year’s contest.

Financial markets are closely watching Lopez Obrador’s progress. If he does win in 2018, it could stoke tensions with the United States after President Donald Trump’s populist broadsides against Mexico during his own election campaign.

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Mexico opposition leaders eye possible election tie-up in 2018

5/20/2017 Reuters

PRDpanThe leaders of two of Mexico’s main opposition parties on Saturday floated the possibility of joining forces in the 2018 presidential elections to defeat the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The proposal by the heads of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) and center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) could make it harder for the embattled centrist PRI to retain control of the presidency next year.

Pena Nieto, whose approval ratings have sagged to multi-year lows in recent months due to discontent over gang violence and corruption, is barred from a second term by the constitution.

A tie-up between the PAN and PRD, which together won well over 40 percent of the congressional vote in the 2012 election, could also put pressure on the current front-runner and twice runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who heads a new party.

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A Mexican Governor’s Race Carries Presidential Implications

5/6/2017 New York Times

cast vote mexicoThe allegations have been flying fast in the bitter campaign to lead Mexico’s most populous state. Vote buying. Payoffs. Alliances with rogues. The illegal use of public funds. The flexing of Mafia-style muscle.

In other words, it’s business as usual in the State of Mexico, where control of the governor’s office, up for grabs every six years, is the biggest prize of all state contests.

The outcome of the race has long been considered a bellwether for the presidential election, providing the victorious party with momentum, campaign money and political influence over the largest state in the country. And this year that seems especially true.

For more than 80 years, the governor’s office in the State of Mexico has been under the control of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or P.R.I. And with each victory, the party has reaffirmed the state as its central political bastion. Its candidate won the last election, in 2011, with more than 61 percent of the vote.

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What To Watch For In Mexico’s Upcoming Election

5/4/2017 Forbes

electionsNext month, Mexico’s most powerful state is holding gubernatorial elections. The establishment party is locked in a dead heat with the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) candidate Delfina Gomez.  The knives are out against her. Should Gomez win in June, it will set the stage for the next 12 months where Morena A-Lister Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, better known as Amlo, takes on the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), led by president Enrique Pena Nieto. Amlo is leading in the polls for the presidency next year.  Gomez could put him firmly in the pole position.

Herein lies the problem: assuming NAFTA negotiations are not completed by then, and assuming Amlo is the front runner and wins, Washington has a problem. Amlo is no fan of NAFTA either. There is the real potential for a stalemate.

If Gomez wins, Washington should take heed and hammer out a workable timeline for a NAFTA do-over soon, but so far there seems to be no hurry. If negotiations get stuck between presidencies, everyone could end up going back to square one. Amlo is the Joker to Trump’s Batman.

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Mexico ‘Seriously Worried’ by Venezuela’s Plan for New Constitution

5/3/2017 New York Times

Venezuela
Source: Cristóbal Alvarado Minic/Flickr

MEXICO CITY — Mexico said on Wednesday it was “seriously worried” by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to create an assembly to rewrite the constitution, saying the measure deepened a political crisis in the South American nation.

Any attempt to alter a country’s constitution that was not done via free and fair elections would constitute an attack on democracy, Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Mexico has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Maduro’s government, which it sees as having undermined democracy in the Americas with a series of measures to weaken opposition leaders.

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Andrés Manuel López Obrador: Mexico will wage a battle of ideas against Trump

5/1/2017 Washington Post

Mexican politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) gestures as he addresses the audience during a meeting at Plaza Zaragoza in Monterrey, Mexico
Source: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

President Trump owes his electoral triumph last November in large part to the propagandistic use of political slogans designed to play on the frustrations of sectors of U.S. society burdened by unemployment, poverty and creaky, inefficient public institutions. The strategy was to deflect attention from those very real problems and focus instead on imaginary enemies.

Trump’s plan was based on a faulty reading of the situation and on promises that cannot be kept, both because of their vagueness and because they collide with inescapable economic realities. The overriding aim was to reach the White House, even if it meant promoting racial hatred, mass paranoia and an imperial arrogance that is obsolete in today’s world.

If the offensive against Obamacare failed, the trashing of the free-trade agreement between Mexico and the United States turned out to be unfeasible, and the building of the border wall was mired in budgetary, legal, technical and even environmental problems, the new administration could at least move to criminalize and persecute migrant workers — and that is what it did.

On Nov. 9, 2016, it became clear that the Mexico-U.S. bilateral relationship had entered a rocky phase. This was due not only to the incoming Trump administration’s policy of xenophobia and racism and the threat to block trade, but also to the arbitrary and abusive plans to force Mexicans to pay for a border wall. This wall is neither a Mexican nor a binational project, but an attempt to strong-arm and humiliate Mexico that is unacceptable and incompatible with international law.

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Mexico’s Ruling Party, Others Caught in Old Tricks

4/27/2017 New York Times

PRI logoMEXICO CITY — The scene was so typical of Mexico’s long-dominant ruling party that it could have happened a half century ago: poor women lined up under a blazing sun, waiting for a politician to show up hours late for a rally they had been obliged to attend under threat of losing benefits from an anti-poverty program.

But unlike a half-century ago, there were a couple of independent media outlets interviewing the women, who were hot, tired and outraged that a government program would be used for political purposes.

The venting ended abruptly when Institutional Revolutionary Party workers arrived to kick out the reporters and tell the women to stop talking. Bruisers took a cameraman’s equipment and physically ejected him from the stadium where the event was being held, threatening to “disappear” him and other journalists.

“When they took us into the (stadium’s) bathroom, they said ‘you’re going to die.’ That’s when I really got scared,” said David Morales, director of the internet news service Chiapas Without Censorship, describing interviewing women at a rally in Tuxtla Gutierrez for PRI Sen. Roberto Albores Gleason over the weekend.

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