I find the Latin American Advisor sent out each weekday by the Inter-American Dialogue to be a very useful newsletter. Each day, its editors get at least three experts to answer some topical question.
Today’s Advisor asks about the significance of the six gubernatorial elections in Mexico this year. I found the answer of Andres Rosental, head of a consulting firm in Mexico City and also a senior adviser to the Brookings Institution, to be interesting.
Here it is:
“Two state elections have already taken place this year, the first on Jan. 30 in Guerrero and the second on Feb. 6 in Baja California Sur (BCS). In both cases, the PRI fared badly and lost to the PRD in Guerrero and to the PAN coalition in BCS, which shows that at least until now the PRI’s discounted triumphal return to power during the 2010 and 2011 gubernatorial contests hasn’t materialized.
“In 2010, the PRI lost the states of Oaxaca, Puebla and Sinaloa. It may be too early this year to draw any firm conclusions from the elections so far, but it appears that the electorate is not giving the Institutional Revolutionary Party a resounding vote of confidence toward a return to power.
“The most important election will be in the middle of the year in the state of Mexico, where the current PRI frontrunner for his party’s nomination to the presidency in 2012 needs to hold on to the state for the PRI. However, a candidate has not yet been formally chosen, while the PRD and PAN parties are facing a multiple choice selection process that is in full swing and may well produce coalition candidates such as those elected last year and this. A strong PRI showing in the state of Mexico would undoubtedly strengthen Enrique Pena Nieto’s chances in 2012 if he eventually carries the PRI flag into the elections, but conversely a PRI loss in his state would definitely dampen his possibilities. It’s difficult to generalize about the issues that voters consider key in state elections because of the heterogeneity of the individual contests. However a trend toward changing the party in power and looking for candidates that appear better able to negotiate within a multi-party system appears to be a common result so far. In any case, it is too early to either give the 2010 election to the PRI or to predict the outcome of the remaining state elections this year.”