A report released by the Mexico State Justice Ministry on the 922 killings of women that took place between January 2005 and August 2010 essentially blamed the victims. The report attributed the killings to: “Risks that some women place themselves in: consuming drugs, alcohol, or inhalants; working in bars where they mix with clients; going out alone at late hours; … becoming romantically involved with partners whom they don’t know well; being involved with multiple partners at the same time; belonging to youth gangs; belonging to criminal gangs or having relationships with gang members.”
The state PRI blocked calls for an investigation into the killings, which was condemned by both federal Secretary of Government Fernando Blake and the PRD. PRD Senator Claudia Corichi said, “Would undertaking investigations to unmask the assassins be such a dent in the armor of [Governor] Peña Nieto? What a shame that [the PRI] hides behind the argument that this is a politicized issue.” (Reforma 1/13)
On Saturday, President Felipe Calderón announced a cabinet reshuffle, with an eye to the 2012 election. Juan Molinar Horcasitas, one of Calderón’s closest political advisers, resigned as Secretary of Communications and Transportation in order “to participate intensively in political-party work that is important for the life of the country” according to the President’s statement. He is being replaced by Dionisio Pérez-Jácome, who has been Undersecretary of Finance for Expenditures and who also briefly served as presidential chief of staff.
Molinar’s record as head of SCT was not stellar. The ministry continued to be bedeviled by technical problems in executing the government’s ambitious transportation infrastructure program. And little headway was made in the area of telecommunications policy, where the award of a large bloc of wireless spectrum to a Nextel-Televisa consortium was drowned in a sea of lawsuits and the withdrawal of Televisa.
The President also named congressman Roberto Gil Zuarth as his new private secretary, replacing Luis Felipe Bravo Mena. Gil Zuarth had been widely seen as the President’s preferred candidate to take over the PAN in the party’s recent election of a new leader (an election won by Senator Gustavo Madero). Bravo Mena is returning to the private sector.
As noted by El Universal’s Bajo Reserva column: “Inside and outside his party, the PAN, the reading [of the changes] was the same: it is a signal that Calderón is not packing his bags and ready to give up power, perhaps to a political adversary. [The appointments] announced yesterday were a demonstration that he will give battle to everyone, including those within his own party.”
Georgina Kessel moves from Secretary of Energy to the President of Banobras, the development bank. She replaces Alonso García Tamés, who returns to the private sector.
José Antonio Meade, Undersecretary of Finance, becomes the new Secretary of Energy. Meade becomes the last of the senior level technocratic ‘old guard’ of the Ministry of Finance to leave, a process that started with the appointment of Ernesto Cordero as Finance Secretary in December 2009.
The Chamber of Deputies recessed for the long holiday weekend without electing three new board members for the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), by the legal deadline of October 30th. According to press reports, the PAN and PRI leadership had agreed to give two of the vacancies to PRI-approved nominees and one to a PAN-approved nominee, freezing out the PRD. The supposed deal was attacked not only by the PRD but also by a number of Deputies in both the PAN and PRI. (Such a deal in 2003 contributed to the IFE’s loss of credibility as an impartial arbiter in the wake of the 2006 presidential election.) The vote is now scheduled for Wednesday, after Congress returns from the Day of the Dead holiday. The three IFE board members to be elected to 9-year terms will be selected from a list of 17 candidates already approved as meeting the legal requirements for the position. (Reforma 10/29)
The PAN and PRD leaderships in Mexico State each approved a policy of alliances with the other to dethrone the PRI in next year’s gubernatorial election. However, Andrés Manuel López Obrador attacked the prospective alliance in meetings across the state. AMLO said, “If an alliance between the PAN and PRD is imposed from above … we will build our own alliance from below, of militants of the PRD, PT and Covergencia” and leave the PRD as “an empty shell.” (Reforma 9/27, 10/10, Universal 10/3)
Posted in Elections, Parties
In an interview, former President Vicente Fox predicted that the PRI would win the 2012 presidential elections. “All the indicators and all the data point that way,” he said. The comments ignited a furious response from PAN party leaders. PAN Senate leader José González Morfín said that Fox was “disconnected” from party matters and he needed to better understand what was happening inside the party. (Universal 9/25, 9/26)
Julio César Godoy Toscano, the brother of Michoacán Governor Leonel Godoy and a fugitive from federal drug charges since June 2009, gave the slip to Federal Police. He avoided a security cordon around the Chamber of Deputies, hid for 2 days in an office in the Chamber, and took the oath of office as a Deputy, effectively giving him immunity from arrest and a public platform for contesting the charges. Julio Cesár Godoy was one of the most prominent figures accused by the Justice Ministry of involvement with La Familia Michoacana when they arrested a large number of political figures in June 2009, just prior to the mid-term elections. Godoy immediately went into hiding, and was easily elected to Congress for the PRD, despite the charges and inability to campaign. Most of the other public figures arrested in Michoacán have since been released, when the government was unable to substantiate the charges against them, feeding suspicions that the highly-publicized operation was politically motivated. (Universal 9/24, Excelsior 9/24)
In a bid to prevent a potential PAN-PRD alliance from winning the governorship of the State of Mexico in next July’s election, the state Congress voted 52-21 to abolish the legal figure of “candidates in common” that allowed multiple parties to put forward a common candidate. The measure was supported by the PRI, PVEM, Panal, Covergencia, and Social Democratic parties, and opposed by the PAN and PRD. As a constitutional measure, it will need to be approved by a majority of the state’s municipal governments prior to October 3 in order to become effective for the July 2011 elections. Parties could still form coalitions, which would require them to have a common platform and a sole representative before the election authorities.
PAN and PRD leaders attacked what is being called the “Peña Law,” after Governor Enrique Peña Nieto.
Gustavo Madero, the PAN leader in the Senate, said, “This disturbs me a great deal, because it is a regressive measure that stinks of authoritarianism.” Senator Carlos Navarrete of the PRD said, “What is happening in the State of Mexico is the announcement by Enrique Peña Nieto of how he would govern if he were to become President of the Republic. With a regression to the past, with legislative sneak attacks, with imposition of measures to create the most positive scenario for him and his party.” (Reforma 9/14)
PRD leader Jesús Ortega beat back a challenge from dissident groups in the party that oppose any alliances with the PAN, during the PRD’s VII National Council; the vote endorsing the policy of alliances was 142-93. Ortega and the Council, however, agreed to the possibility of moving up the party’s internal election of a new president and secretary general to March 2011 instead of November, in order to have a new leadership in place for the 2011-12 election campaigns. (Excelsior 9/12)
A new Mitofsky poll shows preferences for the 2012 presidential election largely unchanged. Based on party choices (without naming specific candidates), the PRI is preferred by 38% of those surveyed, the PAN 20%, and the PRD 10%. (The rest are undecided or favor minor parties.) There has been a slight uptick in support for the PAN, which is consistent with an increase in President Felipe Calderón’s poll ratings in recent months. When voters are asked whom they would like to see as President, Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI governor of Mexico State, outpolls all other contenders by a 3:1 margin. (www.consulta.com.mx)
Enrique Peña Nieto gave his fifth and final Informe as Governor of Mexico State before an audience that included 13 of the 18 PRI governors and most of the party’s luminaries, past and present. As columnist Ricardo Alemán noted, Peña Nieto is being treated as the “virtual President,” and the fifth Informe “seemed like an evocation of the times of Adolfo López Mateos,” President from 1958 to 1964. Alemán asks, “Is Peña Nieto an example of the new PRI that will return to power in 2012? If this is the new PRI, what is the old PRI?” (Universal 9/7)