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More of the same, but less corruption

3 December 2017

That’s what the one “official” presidential candidate — José Antonio Meade for the PRI — is promising.  Widely touted as “Mr. Clean”, mostly for not being the member of any political party (he served in the PANista Calderón Administration as well as the present PRI one), Meade had been, until last week, Secretary of the Treasury.  As such, he will be credited, or blamed, for state of the economy when the formal campaign season officially gets underway (AMLO has not formally announced his candidacy, although that is scheduled … with an eye towards symbolism… for 12 December, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe).

Having to sell the PRI brand, when at least a dozen former governors and other party leaders are either in prison, under indictment and at large, or skirting by on technicalities, creating the impression of a “new and improved” PRI will be only the first challenge he faces.

How much real support there is for continuity is the big question.  The “reforms” over the last two administrations may have improved Mexico’s economic situation, but the cost seen by individual voters, coupled with the on-going “drug war” have worn down the public.  And, economic issues have never proven all that important in Mexican elections.

I don’t remember where I saw it, but the PRI strategy for this election seems to come down to just hanging on.  Given that the first past the post candidate wins the presidency (even if, like Peña Nieto, that only accounts for less than a third of the popular vote), a bland candidate in a crowded field makes sense.  AMLO is certainly “controversial” and everyone can find at least one or two of his proposals they disagree with.  There may, or may not, be two or three independents running this year (they need to gather 866,000 signatures to even qualify for the ballot, and time is starting to run out) and given the problems the coalition PAN-PRD-MC “Citizens Front” has been having on finding a compromise candidate, there may be as many as seven or eight names on the ballot.  The PRI can probably count safely on 20 to 25% of the electorate, no matter who the candidate is, and the majority parties have a history of supporting (surreptitiously or otherwise), minor party candidates in order to split the opposition vote.

In other words, PRI’s best bet is winning over enough of the anyone but the PRI vote to squeak out a victory at about 30 percent.  If not, at least to become the largest of the opposition (which, with a third of Congress chosen by proportional representation) would position them to deal with the presumably smaller opposition parties and thwart AMLO’s more radical propositions, and preserve the status quo.

From Animal Politica:

In his first speech after registering as PRI presidential candidate for the presidency, José Antonio Meade promised continuity with the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, whom he praised as “the architect of change”, although he also said that his party should self-criticism.

“…Let’s finish once and for all with the idea that this country has to be reinvented every six years. We must not demolish everything, we must not change everything,” Meade said this Sunday at the PRI national headquarters.

“We bet on experience …on knowledge and not on confrontation; on  preparation and not on improvisation, on programs, not on whims; on  institutions and the law, and not on prophecies. The revelations can not replace effort, preparation and work, “he added.

In his 30 minute, Meade continued praising Peña Nieto, for his “talent and sensitivity” in  transforming the country in areas such as energy, and creating more than 3 million jobs in his administration.

“The real change was under the leadership of a Mexican with courage, courage, and love for Mexico,” said Meade. “We are going to strengthen what has already been done.”

[…]

Without referring specifically to [several recent scandals], Meade said that his party should strengthen the areas in which it has  done well, and identify those  “realities that hurt us.”

Among the promises that he launched, is that his government, in case of winning, will launch a “frontal and definitive fight against corruption

 

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