Mexico: The power of Money Wins

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By Gerardo Fernández Casanova / Source Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / June, 8, 2016.

Amidst the electoral process held last June 5 in Mexico an earthquake of significant proportions was registered. The PRI(1) fell into the hands of the PAN(2), in 7 out of the 12 state governments that were compromised. The PAN won some locations on its own, and others, in alliance with the PRD(3).

MORENA(4), López Obrador’s party, registered an important electoral progress and even though it didn’t obtain none electoral triumph, it’s consolidating as the main political force in the capital of the country and it’s affirming the possibility that the candidacy of López Obrador could be successful in the presidential elections of 2018.

Peña Nieto was defeated —even though his spokesmen are saying he didn’t participate—. His negative image in the public opinion was reflected on the governors of his Party and most of them lost the positions they had. The PRD, and its confusing proposal of calling itself “left” but aligning with the right (PAN), was also defeated.

The so-called “democratic theorists” are celebrating the triumph of “alternance”: as they do when in the US two different leaders, who actually represent the same interests, transfer power from one to another. Oligarchies always win and they always celebrate the “exemplary democratic process”, as they call it.

Electorally, the conservative preferences of the voters are confirmed once again, more than ⅔ of the electorate has chosen the right: either the PRI or the PAN, as has happened since 2000, the year in which we have allegedly inaugurated democracy. We must pay attention to this matter.

The most remarkable characteristic of the recent process is impudence: a campaign of corrupt leaders against other corrupt leaders (maybe except in Chihuahua where a real member of the PAN won) in which huge amounts of money were spent and whose origin is, at least, quite doubtful. “Vote buying”, either if it was pro-government or from the opposition, marked the contest with its corrupting effect: it might have been through giving cash, handouts or construction supplies, they determined the electoral will of an impoverished and uneducated society.

There was no debate on electoral platforms. And if candidates had a proposal, they were overshadowed by the “commodification of votes”(5). The left, that was represented by MORENA, with no funds and no presence in mass media could not successfully compete in this huge electoral system but it was able to benefit from the dirty war between the candidates of the right forces, as happened in Veracruz.

An extraordinary process took place in Mexico City to choose the members of the Constitutional Assembly of the new Federative Entity. This has been a great dream of all left forces, probably since the end of the last century: the constitutional reform that would replace the district regime of the federation by a Federative Entity. Sadly, this process did not have the expected impact among the common people and the participation in the new local constitution was quite low. Also, those who participated could only choose 60% of the members of the Assembly, which might have been very discouraging. The rest of the members are elected by the President, the Head of Government, the Senators Chamber and the Deputies Chamber. MORENA obtained most of the votes and raises as the first electoral force in the capital, unfortunately it can’t overcome the percentage that the right has obtained in the designation made by the aforementioned institutions.

The analysis of the Mexican reality paints a dreadful picture, full of corruption, which can’t be controlled by the current legislation. And those who could change the legislation are, again, the same corrupt leaders of the PRI and the PAN. MORENA has little room for manoeuvres to influence the other forces, even less so if we take into account that most of the alleged “flaws” of the law were embraced precisely to leave López Obrador out of the electoral process.

A massive and popular mobilization is needed to create a new constitution that, among other things, can correct the current electoral law. Otherwise, we will continue watching the same worn-out and rotten horror movie: also with a very bad translation from English.


  1. PRI: The Institutional Revolutionary Party
  2. PAN The conservative National Action Party
  3. PRD: The Party of the Democratic Revolution
  4. MORENA: The National Regeneration Movement
  5. This concept was originally coined to refer to the offering of incentives so that a person would vote for certain candidate.
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