Surely in the Mexico City press – often called the “national” press – the focus is on the June 4 election in the State of Mexico for the simple reasons that it is their next-door neighbor and the very significant fact that it boasts the largest voting force in the nation with 11.5 million registered voters.
What about the states of Coahuila and Nayarit? Both are far from Mexico City and definitely don’t get much “national press” attention. Nevertheless, the electoral process in both states is underway. In Veracruz, which also counts, there will be elections for mayor in the 212 state municipalities. Both in Coahuila and Nayarit will also conduct elections for the state assemblies as well as municipal mayoralties.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it can easily be stated that in Nayarit the winner will be the National Action Party (PAN) candidate Antonio Echevarría García in alliance with the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Labor (PT) parties plus a state-based party.
The reason to easily make this forecast is simple. Surely President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) posted as candidate Nayarit state senator on leave Manuel Cota, a seasoned leader of the once powerful campesino sector of the PRI. The problem Cota is confronting stems out of the fact that current Gov. Roberto Sandoval Castañeda has been smeared in a very ugly affair involving his former Attorney General Edgar Veytia.
Veytia, who holds bi-national citizenships, was arrested last March 29 at the Border Xpress lane that connects the Tijuana airport with San Diego County in California by U.S. border authorities and charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute heroin, cocaine and meth, as well as distributing marijuana on different occasions beginning January 2013. Besides living in Nayarit’s capital Tepic, Edgar Veytia also had a residence in San Diego.
That alone was a killer blow to the hopes of the PRI of repeating at the helm of the state’s governor office. Even on the last day of campaigning which ends today, May 31, Cota was claiming his campaign was doing all right despite the discredit of Gov. Sandoval who is now spending more time keeping out of public sight as his master work known as the Centennial Canal (Canal Centenario) will not be concluded. The missing money on the water work that was to “get campesinos out of poverty” is 7.574 billion pesos ($400 million) totally financed by the federal government. The money, according to news source MexicoLeaks “is nowhere to be found.”
In Coahuila, another state that’s been a perennial power bastion of the PRI, there is a four way contest in which even the PRI candidate Miguel Ángel Riquelme is running on a coalition made up of the Green (PVEM) and New Alliance (Panal) parties. Riquelme’s worst sin is to be “protected” by the Moreira brothers (Humberto and Rubén) both of whom were consecutive governors for the 2005-2011 and 2011-2017 periods. They all enjoy “protection” from President Peña Nieto particularly nowadays, considered “difficult times” for the Riquelme candidacy.
Guillermo Anaya is running as the PAN candidate. He’s a protégée of his “compadre” (literally) former president Felipe Calderón. Anaya should win against “the PRI bad guys” but his victory would be seen as one for Calderón, who is pushing his wife Margarita Zavala for the PAN presidential candidacy.
Both Riquelme and Anaya have been mayors of the wealthy municipality of Torreón and both are runner ups for the final.
There are two other candidates. For the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) is folksy big moustached mining tycoon Armando Guadiana, while there’s also an independent candidate, Javier Guerrero, who has a long political career “with no scandals.” A literally meaningless fifth candidate is a woman, Telma Guajardo, who was posted by PRD.
Finally, there’s the state of Veracruz. There is little the national PRI leadership headed by Enrique Ochoa can do to prevent the downfall of the former “steamroller” and given the nature of the election for the 212 municipal mayor’s offices, all contending parties will pulverize what was once a PRI stronghold.
The reason is “obvious” for most Mexicans. Former governor Javier Duarte is in jail in Guatemala waiting to be extradited to Mexico. Duarte sacked the state treasury at will and left behind a climate of uncertainty and insecurity in which voters can’t tell the difference between the police and the organized criminal gangs.
Surely current Veracruz Gov. Miguel Ángel Yunes is pushing for his political party, PAN, but in the end it is a free-for-all to grab municipal power making the most of the dregs left behind by Javier Duarte.
And that’s the outlook for next Sunday’s elections in Coahuila, Nayarit and Veracruz, in which President Enrique Peña Nieto may be the main witness of how his Institutional Revolutionary Party crumbles to pieces, right in front of his eyes.