01 March 2007

Por Fin! Jalisco's new governor takes power

Mitin del PAN en Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco

Nine months after besting the PRI in a bitter gubernatorial contest, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez finally assumed power in Jalisco, succeeding Francisco "Paco" Ramirez Acuña, who departed in December for a spot in President Felipe Calderon's cabinet. Gonzalez, the former mayor of Guadalajara, heads the conservative state's third-consecutive PAN government. Originally from Lagos de Moreno in the Los Altos region east of Guadalajara (and just across the state line from Vicente Fox's San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato,) he's long been linked the Yunque, a secretive conservative organization sympathetic to the PAN. (Gonzalez denies the connection.)

Gonzalez takes over a state that could best be described as middle of the road. While not especially corrupt, Jalisco is hardly an innovator on the national level. Guadalajara's sleepy elite-family-dominated business scene is prospering like always and the high-tech sector is making a nice recovery after a long slump.

Paco accomplished little over his term other than bring the 2011 Pan American Games to Guadalajara - a competition won by default - crack down on the globalifobicos at a 2004 summit in the state capital and take numerous foreign junkets of dubious value. Gonzalez's track record in Guadalajara was hardly stellar as he flip-flopped constantly and revved up a dormant publicity machine. During the election, he went negative early on and blasted the University of Guadalajara, an institution with prominent PRD members in top leadership positions. Perhaps most conveniently, the PGR, acting on old allegations of fraud in the Zapopan IMSS, showed up at PRI candidate and former Zapopan mayor Arturo Zamora's upscale Valle Real home mere days before the July 2 vote.

Perhaps Gonzalez will turn out okay. He's already won his battle for an audit at the U de G. But he'll probably turn in another lackluster term - the norm for Jalisco.

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