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How Mexico voted and "not voted"
Monday July 03, 2006 20:18 by iosaf
or how "the other other campaign" faired..,
Voters went to the polls in Mexico, a federation of 31 states and one district yesterday the 2nd of July to directly elect their new President. There are roughly 106.5 million Mexican citizens and their state ranks 12th in the World GDP and 4th for "per capita income" in Latin America.
The "not voting" thing was very simple for Mexico, 2005 saw Chiapas agree to send Sub Comandant Marcus out on a nation-wide "other campaign". Officially 99.4% of ballot offices were opened without incident, and 58.91% of the electorate voted. That means an abstention of roughly 41%.
The "voting" thing has produced a result so narrow that the Federal Electoral Institute can't call the election yet. The mechanism used dictates that the candidate with "plurality of votes" shall win, even if that candidate hasn't got more than 50%. If the IFE can't call the results, it means there is less than 0.3% difference in the results. there is no mechanism for a "run-off" election which readers will remember occured in the recent Peruvian presidential elections.
In Nahuatl, Teotihuacan means 'The City of the Gods', or 'Where Men Become Gods'. who will sit atop the Mexican pyramid next? probably the same eagle as usual.
The outgoing president is Vincent Fox, whose links with Fox news and The Simpsons were never proven conclusively enough to be taken seriously. He was though the first president to be deemed "elected directly and fairly" in Mexico's history : & Mexico has a very very long history, (they used to build pyramids). But the constitution disallows a president to serve a second term - This left 8 nationwide political parties squabbling over who would get the candidatures. Most of the parties descrive themselves as "left wing". This really ought not surprise us, Chiapas is in many ways the heart of our new global leftism and so it sort of makes sense that the federal government who gave the Zapatista's and EZLN such a hard time thinks of itself as "socialist". But not the sort of "socialism" readers of Indymedia ireland like, which is probably why Mexico is one of those states in Latin America which broke diplomatic relations with Venezuela. ( I'd blame their neighbours influence for that).
Here are the preliminary results :-
I'm not going to bore or bamboozle the Irish reader with state by state results, merely bring their attention to the nationwide participation of 58.91% and that of our favourite state, Chiapas where 49.47% of those registered to vote did so.
Nor am I going to waffle about the party politics of Mexico - here's a quote from the good people of "election world" who now work through Wikipedia - "Eight political parties participated in the 2006 presidential election; five of them joined forces in two different electoral coalitions. Competition was fierce, with the National Action Party (PAN) eager to hold on to the presidency for a second period, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) equally keen to regain the office it lost in the 2000 election for the first time in 71 years (now in coalition with the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico), and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) believing itself with a good chance to win after disappointments in the two previous elections (now in coalition with Convergence and the Labor Party)."
For those of you who read Spanish here is a round-up of front pages on the newspapers today
For those of you without any Spanish, its quite simple - everyone says the won. It reminds me of the article which I chose to put up the first picture of Marcus on the campaign trail -
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=72055 "the government has won the election".
For that article reported the elections in Germany & Afghanistan which stretched the norms of democracy and meritocracy to the sublimely ridiculous. Thankfully the Mexican constitution can not see a "shared presidency or grand coalition". But these are odd days for them. Vincent Fox must step down, the new person must come into the office and deal with the problems of Mexico which broadly speaking are :-
* Climate Change............. (their hurricanes don't hit your tellies)
* Migration.......................... (you've seen the wall by now)
* Fair price for Oil.............. (they've had that problem since Oil was discovered and lost their northern states like Texas to the USA because it)
* the Trade Block questions.....................For most intensive purposes Mexico is the most important political acquisition of NAFTA, for the USA it opened the door to 21st century capitalist rather than merely covert (or less frequently) military intervention in Latin America.
* Pollution.......................... Mexico City is a prime example of urban pollution, the city founded by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1521, sits between volcanoes (two of which are active and the object of the most advanced volcanic laser monitoring system in the world) at an altitude of between 4000 and 5,500 metres above Sea Level ( = 13,000 to 18,000 feet), with a population of roughly 18 million people, Mexico City is too put in plainly "over-crowded" and the air is almost unbreathable. In fact street kids who make it, are happy to get the job selling whiffs of oxygen from bottles they carry through the traffic jams. The street kids who don't make it, just sell themselves, sniff glue and dream about washing a windscreen. Pollution is not just confined to the urban areas, almost 200 years of mineral and energy resources exploitation has left huge areas of the country "in a sorry state".
One could be very simplistic and sum up most of these problems with a 3 letter acronym :-
Mexico's problems are the U.S.A.
So it seems we will have to wait a few days, possibly as some pundits suggest till Sunday - to learn the name of the next President of the Federation of Mexico. But by now we really ought know how much power he's really going to be able to wield. I suggest Pancho Villa and Zapata would turn in their graves (if they were lucky enough to get them).
I will update in the comments.