Sunday 24 June 2018

PRI has the organizational advantage in the State of Mexico

La politica es la politica has posted 32 articles - one for each state in Mexico, including Mexico City - in advance of the July 1, 2018, presidential election. For links to all 32 articles, scroll to the bottom of this post.

The State of Mexico is often abbreviated in Spanish from “Estado de México” to be "Edomex" in order to distinguish it from the nation as a whole. Edomex is in a horseshoe shape, surrounding Mexico City (the former Federal District) on the west, north, and east. Its capital is Toluca, a city to the west of Mexico City.

With a population of over 16 million, much of Edomex functions as part of the greater metropolitan area of Mexico City. Edomex is a stronghold of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The current president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, is a member of the PRI and was governor of Edomex from 2005-2011.

The current governor of Edomex is the PRI’s Alfredo del Mazo Maza. During his 2017 gubernatorial campaign he was accused of breaking at least 16 election laws, receiving 619 official complaints. Irregularities included vote buying and breaking campaign spending limits.

Edomex helps generate a lot of the economic activity associated with Mexico City – its annual gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be over US$ 71 billion. The growth rate in the state was more than double the national average in 2017, at 4.22%, representing about 10% of Mexico’s GDP. However, Edomex is also one of Mexico’s most violent states: it ranked fourth in murders in the first four months of 2018, with 703 people killed.

Edomex is also a dangerous place to be a politician. Early in May Adiel Zermann Miguel, 39, the Morena party candidate for mayor of Tenango del Aire, was found dead in Ixtapaluca. Zermann was not a political neophyte, having served a term as mayor between 2013 and 2015. His murder was particularly brutal, with investigators saying he’d been tortured and dumped in the street.

It's also a dangerous place to be a journalist. From the late 19th century until the start of the modern drug war in December, 2006, an estimated ten journalists lost their lives, mostly int he 1980s and 1990s. However, since the beginning of the drug war in December, 2016, six journalists have been killed.

Population pressure in Edomex can result in conflict between residents, developers, and the government, even as efforts are made to solve problems. From January to April of this year construction on the 57-kilometer Mexico City-Toluca intercity passenger train project was stalled due to an injunction brought by residents of San Jerónimo Acazulco in the Edomex municipality of Ocoyoacac. The new train service is intended to relieve congestion on the Toluca-Mexico City corridor, cutting travel time between Mexico City and Toluca to 39 minutes, with capacity of up to 230,000 passengers daily.

A judge granted the injunction on January 19 after community land owners filed a complaint in a federal court in 2017. The landowners argued that 42,000 square meters of land being used for the project was not included in the right of way, and was not covered by a compensation agreement.

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) says that project completion is under risk due to such actions, further arguing that the land was expropriated by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) in 1943, when the population of Edomex was only 1.2 million, and then ceded to the federal government.

Politically, as with other states, Edomex has three federal senators. One of these is a member of the PRI, and another is a member of the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The third is a member of the fraudulent “Green” Party (PVEM), which largely functions as a client of the PRI and tends not to run on environmental concerns, preferring instead populist issues such as capital punishment for kidnappers and expanded food banks.

As in other states, three senate seats are up for grabs in Edomex this July 1, with two named "first past the post" candidates. The first PRI candidate is César Camacho Quiroz, a PRI stalwart who was governor of Edomex between 1995 and 1999. The second candidate is Alejandra Del Moral Vela, a party stalwart – she was a deputy in Mexico City (2012-2015) and the mayor of Cuautitlán Izcalli (2009-2012). Both candidates are relying on a solid base of activists and election observers.
The PRI has a strong presence at the polls

Juan Manuel Zepeda Hernández is running for the PRD. He is campaigning along with María Fernanda Rivera Sánchez, the National Action Party (PAN) candidate who also has a track record as a local deputy. This is an odd – and some think cynical – alliance given that the PRD is left-of-center and the PAN is right-of-center.

The left-leaning Morena coalition is running Delfina Gómez, formerly mayor of Texcoco (2013-2015), and Higinio Martínez, another mayor of Texcoco who resigned to run for the federal senate.

The polls suggest that most senate votes will go to Morena. However, with regard to the federal senate seats, it’s possible that Morena will either be shut out or will take only one seat. This is due to the PRI’s ability to mobilize large numbers, and also the fact that it has activists at almost every poll. In those areas where the only observer is from the PRI, it’s highly likely that the party will attempt to orchestrate fraud, as it has in past elections.

When it comes to the federal vote, the plurality – if not the majority – of votes will almost certainly go to Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and the Morena-led coalition “Juntos Haremos Historia” (Together We’ll Make History). Ricardo Anaya of the PAN-led “Por México al Frente” coalition, and José Antonio Meade of the PRI-led “Todos por México” (All for Mexico) coalition, are 20 to 30 points behind.

Below are the links to the posts for each state: 

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