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866,593

5 December 2017

866,593 valid signatures are required for an independent presidential candidacy. 

Jamie Rodriguez, “El Bronco”… the wealthy businessman and long time PRI politician, who won the governorship in Nuevo Leon in 2015 running as an independent, is so far the closest to garnering 866,593 petition signatures among the five people seeking to be included on the Presidential ballot in the July national election.  The deadline for submiting petitions is in mid-February, and, having already gained over 50% of the signatures required, is more likely than any of the other five independents to be included on the presidential ballot.

In second place in the scramble for signatures is Margarita Zavala, with almost 30% of the needed signatures.  The other three… former PRD Deputy Armando Ríos Piter, newscaster Pedro Ferriz de Con, and human rights activist and traditional nahua healer María de Jesús Patricio Martinéz, are all far behind.

“El Bronco” and Zavala have advantages that make me question how “independent” the leading independents really are.  El Bronco’s not all that surprising victory in the Nuevo Leon election came at a time when his own party was held in odium by the voters, and his main PAN opponent was a non-entity.  Other than a splashy “tough on crime” (at least street crime, like auto theft), he hasn’t governed any differently than any other PRI governor.  Zavala … the wife of former president Felipe Calderón and a former senator herself… was considered a shoo-in for the PAN nomination  Unlike the situation in the United States, where one party did have a candidate with a similar background, Zavala’s ambitions were blind-sided both by party insurgents, and … PAN recognizing it has no chance of recapturing the presidency, and fearing the likely victory of the leftist Morena party of Andres Manuel López Obrador, has opted to join a coalition with PRD and the smaller Citizen’s Movement Party.  Zavala, being absolutely unacceptable to the other coalition parties, has struck out on her own.

Rodriguez … with his own personal wealth, not to mention the relatively intact client base he built up during his 33 years in various offices as a PRI politician… and Zavala, with at least a faction of the well-oiled PAN machine to chip in… of course have a huge advantage over the others.  It seems that the Nuevo Leon governor has also benefited from having control of his state’s bureaucracy.  More than one Nuevo Leon official and office-holder has “volunteered” to coordinate the petition drives. 

This is the problem I always expected to arise with “independent” candidates. How independent are they, really? Either the candidate has a lot of money behind them (making the elections as corrupt as those in the United States, dependent on campaign “donations), is a ringer for a party or party faction… or both. The payoff, of course, is the public financing for a campaign, beyond making a point and possibly actually winning office.

“Marichuy”… Patricio Martinéz… while she is the choice of a congress of indigenous organizations and the Zapatistas, is probably the only real “independent” in the race. And, of course, has the least amount of signatures.

Reporte Indigo (4 December 2017) A paso veloz en la carrera independiente; ‘Bronco’ reúne más de mil firmas por hora

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