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On Your Marks …

The crown jewel of this year’s elections is in the State of Mexico
By The News · 29 of March 2017 09:38:01
PAN candidate for governor of the State of Mexico Josefina Vázquez Mota, TOLUCA, ESTADO DE MÉXICO, 05MARZO2017.- Josefina Vazquez Mota tomó protesta como candidata del Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN), para la gubernatura del Estado de México. La acompañaron sus correligionarios Ricardo Anaya, presidente del PAN; Felipe Calderón Hinjosa, ex Presidente de México, Margarita Zavala, esposa de Calderón y aspiramte a la Presidencia de la República, Diego Fernández de Ceballos, y Miguel Ángel Yunes, gobernador de Veracruz.FOTO: ARTEMIO GUERRA BAZ /CUARTOSCURO.COM ​, photo: Cuartoscuro/Artemio Guerra Baz

The 2017 electoral campaigns in the states of Coahuila, State of Mexico, Nayarit and Veracruz will officially kick off next week. That’s “officially” because campaigning has been going on unabashedly for months now with certain doubts until now regarding the definite candidates running for office. But it is all defined now and contending minority parties are licking their chops to make victory theirs.

But what’s at stake in each of these states? Let’s take a peek starting a bit backwards with the state of Veracruz, where over 200 municipalities will hold elections for mayor.

Veracruz is reeling from a recent change in state governors after the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost to National Action Party (PAN) candidate and now governor Miguel Ángel Yunes.

All forecasts claim that PRI does not stand a chance, as previous governor Javier Duarte literally stole all the money in the state coffers and fled the country. He is now being sought by Interpol in 190 countries but apparently the “thieving governor” just vanished from the face of the earth.

That leaves the state in the hands of a competition between two competitors.

One is the left wing newcomer to elections in Veracruz, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party and in many municipalities the performance of a coalition of the moderate left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and its unlikely bed-partner moderate right PAN.

Reality is that the people of Veracruz are disgruntled at the robbery carried out by PRI’s Javier Duarte, so hopes for PRI to carry many municipalities are slim.

In fact, so slim that the national PRI directorate is investing very little in this election, and aiming their shot guns at better game. People are really angry at them, and PRI — President Enrique Peña Nieto’s political alma mater — knows it.

PRI governed Veracruz for nearly 90 years undefeated, but times have changed.

Second in importance is definitely Nayarit, where PRI will not be out for a picnic either. The PAN-PRD middle of the road coalition have launched the candidacy of Antonio Echeverría, a candidate who may be tough to beat not because PRI candidate Manuel Cota is so popular, but because as in Veracruz outgoing PRI governor Roberto Sandoval is leaving behind a state in debt with some shadowy destination.

But most important, PAN-PRD’s Antonio Echeverría has political pedigree and the Echeverría family has a long standing political jutting in the Pacific Coast state, which borders with Puerto Vallarta.

Elections in Coahuila look jarring. The nation’s second largest state in terms of size and which borders with Texas is confronting a four-candidate competition.
Yet another traditional PRI bastion, where PRI has ruled forever, this year’s elections show a deep division in the vote between two of the candidates.

Up front in the polls is the PRI candidate Miguel Riquelme but is closely followed by a former PRI politician, Javier Guerrero, who is running as an independent candidate, both of whom, as the saying goes in Coahuila, are feeding the fire for their causes. It will be a close call between these two.

Also in the running is Guillermo Anaya of the PAN, who might just manage to split up the vote at stake between Riquelme and Guerrero. The winner will be the vote that might oppose the eternally-ruling PRI.

A fourth candidate for Morena is local mining tycoon Armando Guadiana who is not just well-known, but popular in his own right and will surely reap some of the vote of discontent.

Last but not least is the crown jewel of this year’s elections in the State of Mexico, where there’s a lot more at stake for PRI than meets the eye.

Given the enormous hoopla raised last week with the “registration” of candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza, surely at PRI they — unlike in Veracruz, where their presence is somber — showed how their so-called “steamrolling electoral apparatus” will operate for the two months to come.

Why is the State of Mexico important? First because the former governor is none other than current President Enrique Peña Nieto, second because if PRI and candidate Del Mazo Maza lose the election, most likely PRI will also lose next year’s presidential election, third because 11 million people vote in this state, and fourth, but not least, because candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza is the son and grandson of former State of Mexico governors (all named Alfredo del Mazo) which gives him a pedigree. But his greatest asset (or woe, his opponents claim) is that he’s blood cousin of President Peña Nieto, who pundits have now nicknamed “el PRImazo” (check out the word play PRI and Mazo) or the big cousin. Nepotism, anyone?

Running for PAN is former presidential losing candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota who over the past few days has undergone a terrible bashing as her entire family is being — according to newspaper El Universal — investigated for a multimillionaire money laundering scam. Neither the Treasury nor the Attorney General has said anything about this accusation, but El Universal is a serious daily and they would not publish an accusation without facts. Vázquez Mota has not been accused directly but her father and six brothers have. She’s facing an uphill campaign.

Running for Morena, and who PRI politicos consider their worst foe, is Delfina Gómez Álvarez who did a good job at governing the Texcoco municipality east of Mexico City, and who has gained enormous ground over the past few weeks.

Surely there’s a lot more to tell about each of the campaigns, but the four will be hard to fight and plagued with mud-slinging and vote buying tactics.

But the one with the biggest stake at hand is no doubt President Enrique Peña Nieto, who has vowed to preserve his political machine, PRI, in the presidency for six-more years after 2018.