The Mexican electoral system is in dire straits now that the candidate for president for the 2018 elections hunting season is open to most political parties.
The visible leading problem is not new. It is the nation’s oldest political machine named Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which as of now is in the process of looking for ways to maintain itself in presidential power.
For most analysts in Mexico it is clear that PRI leader President Enrique Peña Nieto has found the formula to win the 2018 election. All he has to do is repeat the formula he and his PRI cronies used to win the recent June 4 elections in the states of Coahuila and State of Mexico, still PRI’s strongest voting bastions.
Saying “strongest” is a figure of speech. In both states PRI won by a slight majority and President Peña Nieto had to use all the power the Mexican state gives its president to run both elections from the presidential residence of Los Pinos, where he rules from, and using public resources – which include the use of presidential cabinet members – to support the candidates for governor in both states.
The result is again what has many people irking: those two governors will be minority rulers in their states, just the way President Peña Nieto has been since the 2012 elections that led him to power even with 62 percent of the total vote against him and PRI.
PRI, known to its abundant foes as “The Dinosaur” seems not to care about being a minority ruler so long as it governs with all the might the Constitution awards elected officials.
“The PRI dinosaur may be wounded,” says former Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) president Agustín Basave, “but its tail lashings can be devastating. For parties to trust in its political death is a grave mistake.”
Most political parties know this and the political talk of the day is how other political parties may strike covenants to avoid the greatest peril Mexican democracy poses, that is, the existence of nine different political parties and to boot, the participation of independent candidates to further divide the vote.
The problem nowadays is that PRI does not go it alone. In its successful bids to win even if by a minority vote the states of Coahuila and State of Mexico, it relied in the added vote brought to them by the minority Green Party (PVEM), New Alliance and Social Encounter parties. At PRI they are away that without the vote of these “leech parties” they would not make it to victory. And this was what sent PRI reeling to victory in the two states.
The remaining five political parties are badly splintered by ideology but united by the hatred they have for the PRI’s ambition to continue ruling the nation.
Three of them, however, are trying to find common ground in an uneven playing field in which they know that President Peña Nieto will repeat the 2017 elections tricks, only this time at a national level. The National Action Party (PAN), Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Citizens’ Movement Party are now looking for way of running a viable candidate to topple PRI.
But also, they would have to contend with the awesome force leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party has garnered in its short two year existence in competition politics.
Morena along with the Labor Party (PT), have already said they will go together and without the shadow of a doubt their candidate will be Andrés Manuel López Obrador. However, the past elections made it clear that though they gained great competing strength particularly in the State of Mexico, they still don’t wield the clout to beat the state-backed PRI by an unquestionable voting margin which would mean at least more than five percent. This will be the only way the National Electoral Institute will recognize their win.
Still, at PRI – beleaguered by incompetence, insecurity and corruption infamy and not to mention President Peña Nieto’s unpopularity – their fate to keep the presidential mandate will be not just in the power of campaigning money, but in the posting of a good candidate. This will be President Peña Nieto’s ultimate personal choice, according to PRI tradition.
What we see for the future is a three-way election among the above defined political factions which is very bad news for Mexico as it clearly forecasts that as a nation that will continue to be ruled by a minority elected leader.
In all this the dinosaur is lurking, waiting to gobble down, once again, the ideologically splintered political parties, which, of course, hope to kill it for good this time around.