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)
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)
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)
The apparent victories of the PAN-PRD coalitions in the PRI strongholds of Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa vindicates the controversial strategy of President Felipe Calderón and PAN party president César Nava of forming state-level alliances with the PRD (and other left parties). In Oaxaca, coalition candidate Gabino Cué (originally from Convergencia) won 50% to 42% for Eviel Pérez, the protege of outgoing governor Ulises Ruiz. In Puebla, coalition standard bearer Rafael Moreno Valle won 52% to 41% for Javier López, the anointed successor to Mario Marín. Finally, in Sinaloa, coalition candidate Mario López Valdez (“Malova,” who until recently was a priista) beat Jesús Vizcarra of the PRI by 52%-46%. In all three states, this is the first time ever that anyone other than the PRI has ever won the state governorship.
Noted columnist Héctor Aguilar Camín, “Democracy is surprising, and defends itself well against predictions. The “unnatural” alliances of the PAN and PRD against the PRI have triumphed, far beyond what was expected. … The day, which had seemed for months like it would be a walk in the park for the PRI, has turned into a challenge for the party. It’s return to first place among voters happened, but in a competitive context that had seemed very unlikely.” (Milenio 7/5)
The coalition victories also strengthen the hand of PRD party president Jesús Ortega against Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who bitterly opposed the coalitions.
Another big winner would appear to be Teachers’ Union head Elba Esther Gordillo. The mobilization of the Union in favor of coalition candidates in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa is being given credit for the PAN-PRD victories there. On the other hand, where the Union stood on the sidelines, as in Veracruz, the PRI won handily.
Finally, the success of the coalitions greatly increases the likelihood that the PAN and PRD will try to form a coalition for the State of Mexico gubernatorial elections in July 2011 — in what will certainly be viewed as the opening act for the 2012 presidential succession and a test for PRI front runner and current State of Mexico governor Enrique Peña Nieto. Failure of Peña Nieto to deliver the governorship of his own state would be a severe blow to his presidential ambitions and current aura of invincibility.
Mexico state governor Enrique Peña Nieto, speaking at the same forum, rejected Gómez Mont’s thesis, and defended the role of the media:
In Mexico, press coverage of insecurity doesn’t persist simply because of editorial decisions, but also because of the specific weight that it occupies in the Government’s strategies. The results of this war have deteriorated the image of the country, even to the point of suggesting the existence of a failed state.
It is certainly not the case that the media are responsible for fomenting more violence or for keeping insecurity as a priority in the national agenda…. Fighting crime and enforcing the law is not a subject just for the media, nor for the parties, nor the responsibility of just one government. It is an obligation of the State, of the entire Mexican State.
A Reforma national poll finds the PRI “alone in first place” in preferences for the 2012 presidential elections. “The PRI seems to be winning support nationally, including among sectors that were averse to them in the last election … younger voters, the more highly educated, and independents,” the pollsters write. Among the general population, Enrique Peña Nieto stands head and shoulders above his rivals in the PRI. López Obrador and Marcelo Ebrard are neck and neck in the PRD (although AMLO has a wide lead among party members). In the PAN, there is no clear favorite, with Santiago Creel, Josefina Vázquez, and César Nava each commanding only modest support. (Reforma 5/30)
A Mitofsky survey looking toward the 2012 presidential race shows the PRI leading voter preferences with 40%, compared to 16% for the PAN and 12% for the PRD. In answer to who would you like to see as president, Mexico state governor Enrique Peña Nieto was far ahead of all others. When priistas are asked about their preferred candidates, Peña Nieto is followed by Veracruz governor Fidel Herrera and party leader Beatriz Paredes. Panista preferences are for Senator Santiago Creel, congressional leader Vázquez Mota, and Jalisco governor Emilio González. Among perredistas, AMLO tops Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard by 2:1. (www.consulta.com.mx)
After days of repeated public denials of a formal pact between the PAN and the PRI, César Nava confessed that such an agreement existed. A document signed by Nava on behalf of the PAN and Beatriz Paredes on behalf of the PRI last October committed both to not forming electoral alliances with ideologically incompatible parties (i.e., the PRD) in the state of Mexico through the July 2011 gubernatorial elections in this key state. Nava said the pact was void because the PRI reneged on backing the government’s original tax plan last fall. The agreement, which was witnessed by Fernando Gómez Mont and the chief of staff of Mexico State governor Enrique Peña Nieto, is highly embarrassing to both Nava and Paredes, but more to Nava. Columnist Ricardo Alemán concludes: “Nava is politically dead. When will they bury the corpse?” (Universal 3/8)
Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont resigned from the PAN (but not from the government) in protest of the party’s electoral alliances with the PRD. Gómez Mont has been publicly critical of the prospective alliances. At the meeting of the PAN central committee (CEN) yesterday, he made a plea to reject the alliance in Oaxaca, but the CEN voted 40-0 to go forward. The Secretary’s resignation letter to party leader César Nava said he was resigning for “reasons that I cannot disclose for professional discretion.” However, the press is reporting that Gómez Mont had given his word (and possibly a written pledge to Mexico state governor Enrique Peña Nieto) that the PAN would not ally itself with the PRD in Oaxaca, in return for the PRI’s support for the tax increases in the 2010 budget. (Excelsior 2/11, Universal 2/11, Reforma 2/11)