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Guerrero election — PRI recovery or PRD fumble?

8 October 2008

In the Guerrero state elections over the weekend, the PRI showed surprising strength, capturing 45 of 81 municipios, including Acapulco, Zihuatanejo anc Chipancinco.  The former ruling party appears to have won 13 of the 28 directly elected seats in the State Legislature (State Legislatures are selected both by “winner takes all” in district elections, and proportional reprentation for at-large seats.  No single party can hold more than 2/3rds minus one of the seats, thus preventing legislation from being passed on purely party lines).  The PRI will become the largest party in the State legislature, which was held — like the Governorship — by the PRD.

On Lonely Planet’s “Thorn Tree Message Board” — normally a tourist site, but often drifting into Mexican politics — one Guerrero resident had this to say about the PRI victory in his community:

The PRI no longer exists as a civilized respectable political party. It is now completely controlled and financed by the criminal mafia directly related to los narcotraficantes.The night before the election here in Guerrero MASSIVE and I mean massive amounts of money flowed into communities all across the state given freely to many many voters to vote for the PRI, as well as HUGH amounts of false voter crediancials were distributed. Here in the municipio de Cuajinicuilapa, even though the PRIs candidate for mayor was highly unpopular, in the all the small villages where money was handed out the PRI won by landslide margins, whereas in the communities where money was not given out the PRI lost by landslide margins.

How much of that is true, I have no way to assess, but there are credible reports of PRI fraud throughout the state. PRD had controlled the State, and some Mexican observers have tried to spin the party’s losses as an indictment of former candidate (and “presidente legitimo”) Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. PRD is still split between “lopezobradoristas” and members willing to work with Calderon administration. In Guerrero, the PRD pulled out of its usual coalition with Convergencia, with the Lopez Obrador factions generally backing Convergencia, which finished a close second in former PRD stronghold Acapulco.

This was a tactical error on the PRD’s part, but might not be as bad as some think (or as hopeful, to those praying for the demise of PRD and/or Lopez Obrador).  The broad coalition (FAP) led by PRD is about a a quarter to a third of voters, and PRD has normally only represented about 15 to 20 percent of all voters nationally.  Anti-Lopez Obrador sentiment could be a factor in keeping many who see PRI as a pragmatic leftist party, but are bothered by its lingering corruption in several states.  Should, as some expect, Lopez Obrador’s faction within PRD formally joins with Convergencia, it would remove that political difficulty from the PRD, while keeping the Lopez Obrador factions within the broader (and successful) “Wide Progressive Front” (FAP for its initials in Spanish).  FAP, cobbled together from three leftist parties (PRD, Convergencia and the Workers’ Party) would have a vested interest in maintaining their common electorial front, since none of them are strong enough to win in more than a few specific districts.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dee permalink
    8 October 2008 10:33 pm

    Richard, I know nothing about Guerrero politics, but I thought it interesting that what I read in the newspapers today had the PRD folks criticizing each other for their own party’s split, and loss, instead of blaming the PRI for winning by using old fashioned PRI tactics (money). Usually, the PRD is so anxious to point at any kind of malfeasance and hit the streets with protests. Makes me wonder. Dee

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