Elections, Espionage and Obesity in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: July 12

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…        

Last Sunday’s local elections in Mexico dominated the headlines this week. The aftermath of the process has seen widespread confusion, with rival parties claiming cheating strategies against each other throughout the country. Overall, election results are expected to define and strengthen the attitude of the opposition parties and their strategy to contribute to Mr. Peña Nieto’s reform agenda, as the parties prepare to negotiate energy and fiscal reforms. The most closely watched election was Baja California, a northwestern state where the PAN has governed since 1989. With almost all the votes counted, a PAN-PRD alliance represented by Francisco “Kiko” Vega held the advantage early on Monday. However, Mexican election officials ordered a recount citing a glitch in the vote-counting system.

The Economist labeled the Pact for Mexico the ‘political workhorse’ in Mexican politics, highlighting the fact that none of the opposition parties appear ready to abandon the pact just yet. Both the PAN and PRD hope to use the alliance to negotiate political reforms that would weaken the PRI in some of its regional strongholds. The Economist also pointed out that now that the electoral process is over, President Peña Nieto is likely to face a hard choice between maintaining the Pact intact or going against the Left to reform Mexico’s energy sector. If it comes to that, the British weekly argues he should ditch the Pact to prevent it from becoming an obstacle to reform.

Continue reading “Elections, Espionage and Obesity in Mexico – Weekly News Summary: July 12”

Mexico Parties to Evaluate Pact for Reforms After Election

MEXICO CONGRESSBloomberg, 7/8/2013

Mexico’s opposition parties said they’re evaluating the future of a multi-party accord to pass economic reforms after alleging foul play by the administration of Enrique Pena Nieto in local elections. “We have to evaluate what will happen with the pact,” Jesus Zambrano, the head of the opposition Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, said yesterday in an interview broadcast on Milenio TV. The ruling party acted with “political savagery,” he said.

Both ruling and opposition parties declared victory yesterday in a close race for governor of the northern state of Baja California, with preliminary results being tallied late into the night. Mexicans voted Sunday in 15 states to pick mayors and local lawmakers as well as a new governor of Baja California. The elections have heightened tensions among political parties that are in the midst of negotiating key energy and tax bills to be presented and voted on this year, as scheduled by the so-called Pact for Mexico. The aftermath of the elections may have an impact on the political and reform agendas of the second half of the year, according to JPMorgan Chase and Co’s chief Mexico economist, Gabriel Lozano.

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Mexico reform drive at stake as regions vote

Enrique Pena NietoReuters, 7/7/2013

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping economic reform plans hang in the balance in local elections on Sunday with a strong opposition showing seen as crucial to preserve a cross-party pact. Nearly half of Mexico’s 31 states are voting for a mix of local parliaments and municipal governments, but all eyes are on the race for governor in the state of Baja California, a stronghold of the conservative National Action party (PAN).

The PAN lost control of Mexico in last year’s presidential elections, being relegated to the third force in Congress, but Pena Nieto must keep them on board to help him push through planned overhauls of state oil giant Pemex and the tax system. Baja California is one of the PAN’s few remaining bastions and if the party can hold the state it could be just what Pena Nieto needs to keep alive the so-called Pact for Mexico he forged with opposition leaders upon taking office in December.

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Mexico elections, like weird ‘Wild West’

election's guide vote imageGlobal Post, 7/5/2013

Candidates have been gunned down, gangster cash alleged in campaigns, governors accused of corruption and a cat, dog and donkey nominated for municipal office. Mexico’s democracy is dancing dirty once again.

On Sunday, voters will elect one governor, 13 state legislatures and hundreds of city councils and mayors. Voters yawn, but politicians have been scratching at one another like bobcats. Economically crucial tax and energy reforms hang in the balance. “This is a setback in terms of elections,” says political scientist Sergio Aguayo, a longtime democracy activist and sharp critic of the country’s modern politics. “It’s the Wild West.”

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Mexico’s PAN fights to retain Baja California

panU-T San Diego, 7/2/2013

In a matter of days, it will all be over: The noisy campaign rallies, the flag-waving party activists posted at busy intersections, the allegations of corruption, the pageants of national political figures making appearances in Baja California. As the state’s July 7 election approaches, eyes across Mexico are on this small northwest border state where Mexico’s two main political parties are locked in a bitter rivalry for the governorship.

The campaigning officially ends at midnight Wednesday for a cooling-off period required by law. Voters statewide are also preparing to choose five mayors and replace the 25-member state legislature, but it is the governor’s race that is commanding most of the attention as the National Action Party, or PAN, vies for a fifth consecutive six-year term. “For the first time in 24 years, there exists the possibility that the PAN could lose the governorship,” said Benedicto Ruíz Vargas, a political analyst and columnist for the Tijuana newspaper, Frontera.

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