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Re: Mexico News Oct.11

Posted by the Generals on October 30, 2011, 7:18 pm, in reply to "Mexico News Oct.3"

LatinNews Daily Briefing 11 October 2011

Mexican moderates back coalition proposal

Development: On 10 October 46 prominent writers and politicians backed a call for coalition government.
Significance: Included on the list is Marcelo Ebrard, the outgoing mayor of Mexico City. He stated that a coalition was the only alternative to the return of the traditional Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) to the presidency. What makes the suggestion all the more fascinating is that it was originally driven by Manlio Fabio Beltrones, the PRI leader in the senate, and the only rival to the party’s front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto, the ex-governor of the Estado de México. Beltrones is now publicly distancing himself from the idea.
Key points:
• The signatories are drawn from across the political and literary spectrum. The list is headed by Carlos Fuentes, a prominent novelist. Besides Ebrard, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, a thrice presidential candidate for the Left (who was probably cheated of victory in 1988), and his son, Lázaro (like Cuauhtémoc a former governor of Michoacán) also added their names. On the Right, Santiago Creel, a candidate for the Partido Acción Nacional’s presidential nomination, also signed up. The centre was represented by Juan Ramon de la Fuente, a former rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM).
• Ebrard said that the return of the PRI to the presidency would be an “utter disaster”.
• Beltrones originally suggested that if the president elected in 2012 did not win a majority of votes, or could not command a majority in congress, then the congress itself should draw up the government’s programme.


LatinNews Daily Briefing 11 October 2011

Profile: Josefina Vázquez Mota

Who is she? Vázquez Mota is one of the candidates seeking the ruling Partido Acción Nacional (PAN)’s nomination for the presidential election in 2012.
Why watch her? According to the opinion polls, she is the most popular of the three PAN candidates declared to date. She is not the preferred candidate of President Felipe Calderón. Born: Mexico City.
Date of birth: 20 January 1961.
Marital status: Married to Sergio Ocampo Muñoz, a businessman, with three daughters.
Education: Vazquez Mota has a BA in economics from the Universidad Iberoamericana. She took the High AD1 Program Management at the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresas (IPADE Business School) and also obtained a Diploma in Ideas and Institutions at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (Itam).
Public life: Vázquez Mota was elected to congress in 2000 by proportional representation, but only served for a couple of months before joining President Vicente Fox’s administration as minister of welfare (Sedesol) when he took office in December 2000. As many welfare projects in Mexico are delivered via NGOs, the Sedesol minister carries considerable political clout, because the NGOs can frighten welfare recipients by suggesting that if the government changes, the programmes and the payments may be cut. It has been suggested that NGOs can thus act as political proxies to get the vote out.
In 2006, Vázquez Mota left Sedesol to take over Calderon’s floundering campaign for the presidency. She revitalised the campaign, and when Calderón took office she became minister of education. She failed, however, to loosen Elba Esther Gordillo’s grip on the education ministry. Gordillo runs the main teachers’ union and she also claims responsibility for Calderón’s victory in 2006. In the mid-term elections in 2009, Vázquez Mota returned to congress to lead the PAN in the lower chamber.
July 2000: Elected to congress.
December 2000: Joins cabinet as welfare (Sedesol) minister.
January 2006: Joins Felipe Calderón’s presidential campaign team as campaign manager.
December 2006: Minister of education (until January 2009).
July 2009: Elected to the chamber of deputies.
September 2011: Applies for congressional leave to seek the PAN presidential nomination.
Strengths: Vázquez Mota is bright and tough, though she was outmanoeuvred (as so many Mexican politicians have been) by La Maestra, Elba Esther Gordillo. Vazquez Mota transformed Calderón’s campaign in 2006, largely by making it more aggressive and introducing ‘attack ads’ to Mexico for the first time. Unlike most leading politicians in Mexico, Vázquez Mota has a positive rating, and is seen as someone who might change things.
Her knowledge of Mexican welfare programmes is important. At Sedesol, she designed and implemented the key conditional transfer programme, Oportunidades, which replaced an earlier programme, Progresa, in 2002, and has been widely praised by international organisations for reducing poverty rates. Sedesol also introduced ‘Habitat’ in 2003 (a scheme to improve housing and infrastructure in poor urban areas). A lot of the beneficiaries of this programme are PAN municipalities.
Vázquez Mota is popular with key ‘Panistas’, notably Ernesto Ruffo, a historic figure in the party who, in 1989, became governor of Baja California Norte. He was the first non-PRI governor of any Mexican state since the Revolution. She is a fluent and witty public speaker and has written a best-seller “Dios mío, hazme viuda por favour” (God, Please make me a widow).
Weaknesses: She was badly outmanoeuvred by Gordillo in 2006. Gordillo sits at the heart of a political web of influence which is centred on the PRI but also includes the PAN, and she clearly feels that her power would be threatened by even the very prospect of a Vázquez Mota candidacy. Gordillo (or more likely one of her underlings) might strike first against Vázquez Mota.
Prospects: Almost certainly, Vázquez Mota has been strengthened by the fact that President Calderón has not endorsed her. His candidate for the PAN presidential nomination is the former finance minister, Ernesto Cordero, who has never run for election. The third declared PAN candidate is Santiago Creel, whom Calderón defeated for the Pan nomination in 2005.
The PAN has yet to decide the mechanism under which it will choose its candidate: the only requirement in the party statutes is that the election has to be open.
If Vázquez Mota were to win the PAN nomination, she would enhance the presidential campaign. Currently Enrique Peña Nieto, the leading PRI candidate, looks to have the 2012 election in the bag. He is 20 or 30 points ahead of any potential rival, though neither the PRI, the PAN, nor the Left has yet formally chosen a candidate.
With Vázquez Mota as a PAN candidate, the 2012 election campaign might be fought on policies rather than personalities. This would be unusual for Mexico. Although opinion polls show that 63% of Mexicans believe that the PAN has had its chance in government and should now hand over to someone else, it is just possible that Vázquez Mota could win the presidency on a reformist platform, appealing to dissident priístas who want to introduce a more parliamentary system of government, and centrists who might otherwise back a leftwing candidate.


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  • Mexico News Oct.3 - the Generals October 30, 2011, 7:03 pm
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