A Non-Traditional View (Part 2): Possible Results of the elections in México
When you get to a fork in the road, take it–Yogi Berra
Much is uncertain about the results of the upcoming election July 1. However, there are emerging differences from past elections which signal fundamental evolution in the politics of the country.
The 80+ year hegemon, Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), once described as “the perfect dictatorship” because it gave the president of the country total control of all governments, will lose in July. Opportunistic short-term coalitions are taking its place. State and local governance is growing in importance and independence, but these entities have little guidance locally or from the outside.
The PRI is currently in third place and weakening in the polls. Candidate Meade himself, not a party stalwart, is taking the brunt of the anger of the party “faithful” and the fear of the public in general – not so much a response to the significant reforms instituted by this administration, but to the arbitrary way they were enacted, the significant concerns left unresolved, and the perception of abuse of power and corruption at all levels of all the governments in the nation.
Control of all government agencies by the PRI has been exercised in coalitions since 1996. This electoral-period exodus of opportunistic groups from the established parties is widespread. These new coalitions do not follow a policy rationale, nor a philosophical positioning. They are based on subjective appraisals by elected officials and candidates.
National polls with a random sample of respondents identify the priority of issues to resolve. These include security, criminal impunity, corruption, secure and well-paying jobs, opportunities for young people in the work force, education opportunities, and infrastructure needs in marginalized areas of the country. The problem is, polls are non-existent or are inconsistent at the local level, and anecdotal evidence shows that the form and solution to these local issues differ. The solution, the attention, and the resources traditionally have come from the president centrally and been implemented locally, haphazardly and with little local involvement and appraisal. With the increasingly disjointed federal political scene, local solutions with both political and private initiatives are necessary. There is not enough awareness of this in the country, for even in this election period, the focus is on the presidential election, not the estimated 15,000 positions to be elected.
One example is criminal violence. Recently, the country has experienced a spike in homicides with a dramatic rise in the number of mayors and candidates killed. The brunt of this violence is in just a few states and “municipios,” or metropolitan areas. Local police, investigative capability, and communication infrastructure available to coordinate nationwide or internationally does not exist. The judicial reform initiative to create politically independent magistrates, paid locally, with a system that allows defendants to face their accusers is still being rolled out.
Externally, the renegotiation of NAFTA, which will call for more US-produced content; and the increased restrictions on immigration to the US, which has provided a release valve since the Second World War, affect certain regions in the country, and it is unclear in what direction they will push the electorate. The ebb and flow of commodity pricing and availability adds to the uncertainty.
Whoever becomes president will no longer be all-powerful. The long-standing historical authoritarian tradition may be irremediably altered.