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Days of reflection… on Batman

2 July 2009

Yup, “Jornadas de reflexión” is the official phrase used for the 72 hours before the election, when no polls can be published, no campaigning is allowed and … I guess… everyone is supposed to “reflect” on their voting.   One nice thing is we don’t have to put up with all that last-minute campaign news and exit polling (also not allowed) though there is an official “quick vote” tally that will start appearing at 8 PM on Sunday night.

Since at least last March, all polls have shown that the PRI will form the legislative majority in the next Senate and Chamber.  The only question is how many of the 300 district seats they’ll win in the Chamber, and how many of the 200 plurinomal seats they’ll be entitled to as a result.  It’s a little complicated.  There are 300 electoral districts, where the top vote getter becomes the delegate.  Based on how the party vote goes in each state, there are additional seats awarded… but no one party is allowed to hold more than 2/3rds minus one of the total seats.

Best guesses are that PRI will hold somewhere between 200 and 220 seats.

In the Senate, it gets very complicated, with two senators per State (as in the United States and two for the Federal District (96 Senators in all), PLUS another 32 Senators selected (based on party vote) by “Conscription”… a regional lumping of the States into five super-districts called “Conscriptiones”.

The relatively large PRD faction in the outgoing legislature was something of a fluke, based mostly on the Lopez Obrador coat-tails.  PRD is expected to fall back to its normal 15 to 20 percent of the total.

batman&robinThe “null vote” — those who plan to mark their ballot for no one, or write in a candidate (“Batman” — always a favorite write-in protest candidate — may garner more votes than listed candidates in several districts) — has become a factor, though the votes will not count in assigning seats.  The “nullistas” have a variety of causes… from demanding an electoral system that allows for independent candidates (both rightists and leftists have their own candidates in mind), or change the law to allow for referendum and recall, to those in the media who want to legalize paid political advertising.  The recent Honduran coup… caused in some part by dependence on the political party system (and having a elections commission system based on Mexico’s) and the crisis that developed when the President’s policies conflicted with his party’s, may have given the nullistas a boost in the last few days.

Depending on how poorly the Social Democrats do (they need at least 2.5 percent of the vote to keep their party registration), I expect they’ll be part of the nullista faction next time out.

However, the real winner will be nobody… somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of voters are abstaining.

Expect calls for electoral changes by the end of the year… and expect PRI to defend the system that it took them a few years to get used to, but that they’ve been able to spin to their advantage once again.

After the election, I hope to write a fairly long piece on the PRI’s resurgence, but want to see how resurgent they really are, first.  So, for now, I’m in my own “jornadas de reflexión”

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