Summer heat and rain have arrived a bit early in Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas as the electoral campaigns in Mexico are heating up.
As many of you know, Mexico is in its electoral campaigns for the presidency, along with the elections of senators, delegates, governors and mayors for most of the states. This year seems like there could be a lot of changes, according to many national and international analysts. This is something that we all feel here in Mexico. We can breathe it in the air.
In the 2018 elections, we are witnessing an unprecedented event. The favorite candidate of the masses is running for the third time in a row. His name is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO. He lost in the last two elections and there were huge controversies regarding the triumph of Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderon in 2012 and 2006, respectively.
It is worth mentioning that AMLO started his political career in the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) party a long time ago, then he turned to the left and moved to the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD). He was with the PRD when he ran the last two elections. After his controversial defeat in 2012, he created his own party called Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA).
In Mexico, there are so many political parties that most of them are called bonsai parties. When the elections come they make strategic alliances with the big parties like PRI, Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), MORENA and PRD in order to continue on the government´s payroll.
This time around it seems that the most powerful political party in Mexico – PRI and its allies – cannot play dirty against AMLO. Every poll published in any media in Mexico shows AMLO winning by a double- digit margin versus his nearest competitor, Ricardo Anaya. At age 40, Anaya is the youngest candidate ever to run for the presidency. However, he has been involved in money laundering scandals, among other situations, that have affected his political and personal image.
Ricardo Anaya is running with PAN, which is well-known as essentially the same as PRI. The two of them perform a very complicated play that makes you believe that PRI is against PAN. But, behind the scenes, they plan together and then speak for hours to the public, saying how one is worse than the other. At the end, as we say in Spanish, they are cut with the same scissors.
PRI´s candidate, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, has served two times as the director of the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) which is the Mexican IRS. He has also been involved in corruption scandals involving millions of pesos and millions of U.S. dollars as well.
There also was a female candidate this year, Margarita Zavala, the wife of the former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón. She dropped out of the race before the second debate, almost a month ago. Zavala was running as an independent after she left PAN in controversy, making a lot of enemies on the way out.
Finally, we have the only independent candidate left, Jaime Rodriguez Calderón, aka El Bronco. He used to be the Governor of Monterrey, one of the three most important cities in Mexico, along with Guadalajara and Mexico City.
He has never been affiliated with any political party. In the last two debates, we believe he spoke better than the rest of the candidates. However, in the first debate two months ago, when the interviewer asked him what he would do to all the corrupt politicians he said in a serious tone that he would cut their hands off. The astonished interviewer then asked if he literally meant cutting their hands off. El Bronco answered, in front of all Mexico, “Yes, I´m saying it literally.” We just couldn’t believe what we were listening to.
We believe Mexico’s elections this year will have a big impact on the future of the country, a topic of great importance to our expat readers. Election day is July 1, although the new president will not assume his duties until December. In our next blog, we’ll provide you with our thoughts on the new president of Mexico.