Photo: AFP/Getty Images, HECTOR GUERRERO / 2010 AFP
Level of influence for 2012 election difficult to gauge.
By Arturo Gallardo / MySA.com
Mexico’s political landscape is considerably different for the top three political forces involved in the 2012 presidential election.
A third consecutive victory for the National Action Party, or PAN, would certainly be viewed by many as a mandate to keep the frontal assault on organized crime that has hit drug cartels harder than any other administration before. Unfortunately, the approach has also left approximately 35,000 people dead and counting — a policy with many vocal detractors.
Turning to the left, the situation appears as fractured and segmented as ever. The dominant Democratic Revolution Party lives in the shadow of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who continues to be prominent, but also polarizing. About two-thirds of PRD members would pick the former presidential candidate who claimed fraud in 2006, giving him a clear lead over Marcelo Ebrard, the current Mexico City mayor. Ebrard enjoys support from only 26 percent, according to pollster Consulta Mitofsky.
A Revolutionary Institutional Party comeback to win the presidency is very much possible. And Enrique Peña Nieto who is the Mexico State governor is the politico who appears to be best positioned for a PRI victory in 2012. The Univision-Parametría poll showed that about 44 percent of Mexicans see Peña Nieto as the favorite. The only possible opposition from within the party is the Sen. Manlio Fabio Beltrones at the moment.
And according to Mitofsky’s website, the PRI generates more positive opinions with 42 percent, followed by the PAN at 28 percent and the PRD with 19 percent.
A key factor during the next few months is the political effect of organized crime leading to 2012 election. How will the current drug war shape the candidates’ platforms? Will some candidates distance themselves from the current war on organized crime?
Recently, Sócrates Rizzo a former governor of Nuevo Leon, who served in the early 1990s, dropped a bombshell during a conference at the Autonomous University of Coahuila in Saltillo when he stated that during the PRI presidential years, the executive exerted strong control over the cartel trafficking routes, keeping the peace in the country. Then, Wikileaks released a cable, also widely reported, in which Rizzo warned U.S. consulate officials in 2009 about the likelihood that cartels would influence the political process, referring to gubernatorial, state and municipal elections that year.
But the battle for public opinion could be worrisome from another perspective, too. The results of another poll by Parametría reveled that about 15 percent of Mexicans see the cartels as heroes, about 41 percent saw them as a source for employment — some results were explored in a blog for El Universal newspaper by journalist Mario Campos.
Will the cartels attempt to directly influence the presidential election? Or would they limit themselves to intimidating voters and candidates?
Violence, the Wikileaks, and the fear of narco money influencing the presidential election are definitely new factors in the electoral road to 2012. It has become impossible not to wonder about the role of organized crime in the democratic process south of the border.
Arturo Gallardo is a channel producer for mySA.com.
- Former Mexican Governor Admits Past Presidents Controlled Drug Trade (businessinsider.com)
- You: Guerrero election kicks off weighty Mexico political year (latimes.com)
- Left wins governorship in violent Mexican state (reuters.com)
- Violence, scandal mar governor’s race in Mexico (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The moral of 2011… elections and lessons (northernbarbarians.wordpress.com)
- Mexico’s presidential campaign: Saddling up for the trail to Los Pinos (economist.com)