Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The Institutional Revolutionary party’s return to power

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on July 7, 2011

by Rodrigo Camarena for The Guardian, July 7th, 2011.

The party that ruled Mexico for seven decades by a mix of autocracy, populism and patronage is making ominous advances.

As the largest democracy in the western hemisphere celebrated its 235th birthday on Monday, its neighbour to the south, Mexico, recoiled at the spectre of a return to its autocratic past.

As results from Sunday’s race for the governorship of Mexico State (surrounding Mexico City) were released, the outcome was unmistakable. The centre-left Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) – which ruled Mexico uninterruptedly for 71 years – decimated the opposition in a landslide victory with 62.6% of votes cast, against the leftist Democratic Revolutionary party’s (PRD) 21.1%, and 12.4% for Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s National Action party (PAN).

The PRI’s candidate, Eruviel Ávila, had long been a favourite to win the gubernatorial elections. The PRI has governed the state since the early 20th century and expectations for their removal from power were swiftly dashed after the PAN and PRD failed to continue their electoral alliance against the party (as they had successfully done in five out of the eight gubernatorial elections held last year). While less than half of the state’s voters participated in this weekend’s election, and only 24% of the state’s residents voted for the PRI, Ávila’s victory was assured thanks to strong participation from state employees and support from the country’s powerful teachers’ union. Many see the race for Mexico state as a bellwether for the 2012 presidential elections, in which the current governor of Mexico state, Enrique Peña Nieto, is leading in early opinion polls. (continue reading… )

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