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mexico News-May 26

Posted by the Generals on May 27, 2011, 10:17 am

Subject: Mexico News DAILY May 26, 2011

LatinNews Daily - 26 May 2011
Mexico considers cancelling state election
Development: On 25 May the national leaders of the country’s three main parties announced that instead of allowing the electors of Michoacán to pick the next governor they may agree on a joint candidate.
Significance: The proposal is a demonstration of how weak President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa now is and how vulnerable his key policy of using the army to combat drug trafficking gangs has become. Michoacán has been the scene of a major upswing in gang violence in the past 10 days and the politicians now fear that elections, due this November, would be impossible. This admission raises questions for other state elections this year, especially in Nayarit, where 28 people were killed by gangsters on 25 May and which goes to the polls on 3 July, and also for the congressional and presidential elections due in July 2012. The US government has a clear understanding of what is happening in Mexico: on 24 May the US President nominated Earl Anthony Wayne, currently deputy ambassador to Afghanistan, to be the next ambassador to Mexico. Wayne, a career diplomat, was ambassador to Argentina from 2006 to 2009.
Key points:
• In Colombia, where the government has waged a successful war against gangsters and guerrillas, the government reckons that only 6% of Colombia’s municipalities are places where it is difficult or impossible to hold democratic elections. In Mexico academics and politicians guess that gangsters now influence elections in at least 40% of the country’s 2,400 municipalities.
• Originally the leaders of the three parties, the ruling Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) which currently rules Michoacán, met to consider drawing up rules to ensure a peaceful election campaign leading up to the elections on 13 November. Apparently, as they talked the idea of running a joint candidate emerged: there will be further meetings next week to develop the idea.
• The announcement coincided with the news that five villages in western Michoacán had been evacuated because of the threat from gangsters. The mayor of Buenavista Tomatlán said that at least 1,000 people had moved into a primary school and the public baths in the centre of the municipality because of the violence in their home villages.
• The announcement of the negotiations came from Gustavo Madero, the president of Calderón’s PAN. He may well be the joint candidate in Michoacán. The presence of the PRI party president, Humberto Moreira, at the meeting marks a change of policy. As recently as 20 May he had ruled out the idea of cancelling the elections and had maintained that the PRI would run its own candidate.
• The absence of President Calderón from the announcement, and the photo op which accompanied it, is significant. Michoacán is his home state; he ran for the governorship in 1995, and when he became president in 2006 Michoacán was the first state into which he deployed the army to force back the gangsters. This strategy, after some success, is now failing.
Pointer: If the elections in Michoacán are effectively suspended Andrés Manuel López Obrador could benefit. He is the radical leftist who still does not accept that he was defeated by Calderón in the 2006 presidential elections. He has all but split the PRD and forced the PRD to drop its plan to run a joint candidate against the PRI in this year’s major election, for the governorship of the Estado de México on 3 July.

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