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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo PRI’s Election Loss The differences were too many to not make them suspects of the game most Mexicans play: corruption
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Political pundits are analyzing every aspect of the resounding whipping taken at the polls by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in nine out of 12 governorships at stake.

The culprits can be many so let’s start with PRI’s main leaders, namely President Enrique Peña Nieto and the man in charge of winning the elections, Manlio Fabio Beltrones.

Several analysts claim that the vote reflected a no-confidence vote towards President Peña Nieto, whose many scandals while in power have been swept under the carpet but still, people see and do not forget. The “white house” scandal is the tip of the iceberg because it went viral and portrayed Mr. Peña as your regular corrupt Mexican politico who takes kickbacks. If you recall, the “white house,” on the plush Chapultepec Heights neighborhood, was a gift from Higa Construction Company, which has been favored with zillionaire contracts. His wife got to keep the house.

The vote chastising list is a lot longer, but the “casa blanca” issue is still fresh in the minds of voters.

The other is the president’s elections operator Manlio Fabio Beltrones, who at present is trying his best to divert the blame to many factors other than his own political incompetence. Mr. Beltrones made many dumb mistakes that ended up alienating voters. Plus the fact that “mobster Don Beltrone” (people like calling him that, I mean no offense, or praise) has accumulated an image of being an elections “raccoon” (he steals them) over the years and has been accused of making alliances with drug traffickers while he was Sonora State governor back in the 1990s.

That’s the image the top PRI men project nowadays.

Another deceiving measure fortelling the PRI winning “nine out of 12 governorships” (as victoriously forecast by Beltrones) were the polls themselves.

This is not the first time pollsters and their promoters try to deceive voters claiming the PRI candidate as leading far ahead in the polls. A good example was back in 2012, when President Enrique Peña Nieto himself, was placed by then news anchor Ciro Gómez Leyva as leading, at one point, by as much as 30 percent of the votes over contender Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

When the real results were in Peña Nieto won by a 6 percent difference, but the Gómez Leyva deceiving practice had already been carried out.

Those closely watching the early 6 and 8 p.m. election results last Sunday were in for a surprise as two exit polls carried out by professional pollsters Parametría and Alejandro Campos were wrong all the way.

Their exit poll results were very much in tandem with what they had been forecasting all along, and after seeing that they struck out every time in their prognostications, they blamed the voters themselves for their blunt errors in counting exit votes.

It was not until 11 p.m. that a third pollster, Consulta Mitofsky, came out with the correct outlook of the election based not on the individual votes of exiting voters — “who often lie” was the complaint — but on the results made available by law by the State Electoral Institutes in each of the 14 states where there were elections.

The Mitofsky poll proved right in every case, which brings me to the question that perhaps, during the electoral process, some of the forecasters had been cranking the payola handle? It’s a question because as in the Ciro Gómez Leyva case in the presidential campaign, the differences were too many to not make them suspects of the game most Mexicans play: corruption.

Also, the quality of PRI candidates left many a doubt in voters. All the candidates for governor were hand-picked by the president and Manlio Fabio Beltrones themselves, hence they needed people in power they could handle at will.

Fortunately for Mexicans, the PRI is no longer running the electoral process and has been reduced to what it should have always been: a contending political party, and not the one-party dictatorship it was during the 71 years from 1929 to 2000.

Today, election booths are handled directly by citizens who are not in government and directed at large by the Federal Electoral Institute, which ought to be commended for an honest job well done that allowed the true winners to hold their well-deserved government posts.

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