Way deep down Mexicans, as a nation, have been working to have an honest democracy in which clean elections are the path to a brighter future.
Yet under present circumstances many feel that the contrary is happening after Tuesday when the State of Mexico Electoral Institute (IEEM) awarded Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza the victory in the past June elections for governor under the shouts of “fraud” aimed not just at the PRI, but also at the officials in charge of organizing the election.
Nearly 3,000 protesters backing runner up Delfina Gómez of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) surrounded the IEEM facility to demand a full recount of the votes in 18,000 booths “vote by vote, booth by booth,” because they feel that the IEEM officials sold out to the PRI candidate who just happens to be President Enrique Peña Nieto’s blood cousin.
What is worse, there is a feeling among all political parties that the State of Mexico election was “a rehearsal” of the national federal election next year that includes the presidency, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, and a myriad of state and municipal governments for a total of about 18,000 participating candidates.
Coincidentally, the PRI victory in the State of Mexico comes in tandem with the PRI National Assembly next Saturday in which it is said that the electoral tactics that worked out well to win the State of Mexico election will be applied again in 2018 to win the presidential one.
This fills up the Mexican political air with a stench of corruption and distrust. Minority Labor Party representative in the State of Mexico Joel Cruz says that “we’re surprised and worried that the electoral organizers have lost their autonomy. They are subject to external evaluations that threaten the legitimacy of the electoral process. What’s going on is political, not juridical.”
The accusations of corruption at the IEEM come also in tandem when all leaders of national political parties feel that the entire National Electoral Institute (INE) has been coopted by President Peña Nieto to favor the PRI leading the nation back to the time when PRI was a totalitarian one-party system of governance.
PRI is holding five different workshops Wednesday and Thursday to put together their electoral program which will be presented at the General Assembly at the Sports Palace in Mexico City during their national gathering Saturday.
Again, the entire powwow will be held to outline the path to follow to “six more years” in power as of 2018.
Yet PRI knows it is holding its convention at a moment in which the president’s popularity, though slightly better from the all-time 12 percent low it hit last January after Peña Nieto decided to hike gasoline prices, is still not good. Add to this the large amount of corrupt governors on trial that badly taint the image its current president Enrique Ochoa Reza, who wants to project and of course to defend the State of Mexico victory.
A main objective of the convention will be to “align” the majority of PRI militants — it is still the largest political party in Mexico — behind the command of President Enrique Peña Nieto in order to win the elections next year. This symbiosis is in the PRI’s DNA and whenever it has not been there, they have lost elections.
But the worst accusation of all parties opposing PRI is that it is manipulating the National Electoral Institute to win elections, no matter what the cost might be just as it happened in the State of Mexico.
In this position, PRI is a veritable threat to the incipient Mexican democratic system all Mexicans want, because even if in decay, it still wields enough power to impose itself as “the one and only political party.”
But in the end, it is not PRI that is under trial, but the National Electoral Institute because many politicos feel they have betrayed the goal they were appointed for by political parties, which is to oversee the honesty of vote counting and fair elections on an even playing field.
Will Peña Nieto manage to impose a “successor” like in the old PRI dictatorship? That’ll spell well for PRI militants, but it may lead Mexican democracy to the guillotine.