Violence Characterizes Presidential Campaign in Mexico

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Leftists Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads the presidential hopefuls. (Photo: Reuters).

From September to date more than thirty politicians, including candidates for elected offices, have been murdered

The electoral pre-campaign wound up in Mexico, and from February 12 began a kind of closure period in which, according to most of the polls, the candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) leads the presidential hopefuls under an atmosphere in which violence has prevailed.

The candidate for the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and the Labor and Social Encounter parties is on his third attempt for the presidential chair.

AMLO is the best known by the population among its rivals, according to several pollsters who also highlight him for his promises to confront corruption and the ‘power mafia’, as he has repeated before starting the electoral process towards the elections of July 1.

The slope is just beginning and everything points to former Secretary of Finance, José Antonio Meade representing the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in partnership with the Green and National Alliance parties.

Meade is the first presidential candidate of the PRI that is not a member of that group, which has governed the country the longest. For this, the party of President Enrique Peña Nieto had to reform its statutes.

It is recognized as an honest and efficient officer who has worked in both PRI administrations and the National Action Party (PAN).

But the former Foreign Minister and former secretary of Social Development also has to deal with the wear of the PRI, affected by corruption, violence and other scourges prevailing in the country.

López Obrador and Meade will also confront Ricardo Anaya, former president of the PAN, supported by the blurred Democratic Revolution Party and Citizens’ Movement.

Anaya is a 38-year-old politician whose presidential aspirations caused cracks in the PAN for those who consider him ambitious and without a clear government program.

Several independents such as Nuevo León’s licensed governor, Jaime Rodríguez, former prime minister Margarita Zavala (wife of former president Felipe Calderón), licensed senator Armando Ríos Pitter and María de Jesús ‘Marichuy’ Patricio also aspire to the presidency.

However, in the presidential elections none of the independent candidates has real chances to win. In fact, they have complained about the requirements imposed by the National Electoral Institute (INE), which includes the collection of thousands of signatures equivalent to one percent of the electoral roll.

The way to collect the signatures is through a mobile application that started with operational problems and that puts the cellular telephony as a key element.

In the case of Marichuy, an indigenous aspirant promoted by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, the disadvantage is greater because those who support her (inhabitants of native communities) must have a cell phone, something unthinkable in remote places where poverty prevails.

Until March 18, the INE will have to approve the agreement in order to distribute public financing with a view to campaign expenses among the independent candidates.

From March 11 until the 29th of the same month the electoral arbiter will review the nominations meet legal requirements.

On March 30, the election campaign and the rain of publicity, rallies, tours of the candidates will begin, and three television debates.

The ‘dirty war’ will also return, as some of them call the attacks that predominated in the pre-campaign, in which the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and US senators meddled.

In the best style of the Cold War, the representatives of the United States used the argument of ‘Russian interference’ in the Mexican elections, a dirty lie against AMLO that the PRI undertook to propagate.

López Obrador reacted with irony and good humor to the accusations. Since then he calls himself ‘Manuelovich.’

May 31 will be the deadline to verify the status of citizens of the nominal list that support candidates for independent candidacies.

The campaigns of the candidates will close on June 27, because the next day will come into force the electoral closure until the day of the elections. In that period no candidate can ask for a vote.

The media are also prohibited from disclosing electoral propaganda or survey measurements.

On July 1, the new president, 128 senators and 500 federal deputies, several state congresses, eight governors and the head of the government of Mexico City will be elected, as well as municipal officers.

The electoral process has been tainted with violence. Considered as the most violent, from September to date more than thirty politicians, including candidates for elected offices, have been murdered.

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