01 July 2012

Election 2012 – so far

A woman votes July 1 in Chimalhuacan, on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City, for candidates in the 2012 Mexican election

Mexcans voted July 1 amid allegations of vote buying, giveaways and coersion – and ultimately elected former Mexico state Gov. Enrique Peña Nieto as president.

His victory returns the PRI to Los Pinos after 12 years in opposition – during which time it stayed strong on the state level and showed little interest in approving structural reforms.

Peña Nieto now promises those reforms – in the state-run petroleum sector, to name one place – but the PREP vote tabulation is showing it unlikely the PRI will capture majorities in Congress. The president-elect says such an electoral outcome is necessary to improve governance and achieve reforms.

Peña Nieto also captured 38.15% of the popular vote, with nearly 99% of the voting stations reporting. This tops Andrés Manuel López Obrador by 6.5 percentage points – far from the landslide predicted by the polling industry. Considering the non-stop campaigning from the Peña Nieto, the PRI and friendly media outlets, 38% seems somewhat scant. President Felipe lacked the same charm, telegenic looks and marketing muscle – and he achieved only two fewer percentage points in the 2006 election.

As one analyst suggested in a post-election chat, it's possible that the anti-PRI vote continues being alive and well in Mexico and comprising approximately 60% of the population – although, yes, there's a segment of the population very much in favour of the party.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, trailing in second with a respectable showing, promises to contest what he says are widespread irregularities.

Here's my dispatch on the electoral process for USA TODAY. (Click on the publication title for the link.)

Like most journalists here, I've put together a number of reports for the recent elections. Here's a sampling of what I've had published. (with the link, again, embedded in the publication name.)

Mexican presidential candidates mostly mute on drug wars – USA TODAY

Leftist candidate gains among Mexico's well-off – USA TODAY

Mexicans chafe under political negativity ban – USA TODAY

The Canadian Alliance lives on ... in Mexico! – Toronto Star

Mexico's smooth frontrunner glides ahead – GlobalPost

Viva la diferencia! Mexico City tilts left – GlobalPost

Playboy model, underdog, steal Mexican debate – GlobalPost