Mexico Seeks New Leadership In Sunday Elections
Economic growth and rising drug violence are pushing Mexican voters to seek a change in their leadership as they head to the polls Sunday.
The current ruling National Action Party (PAN), which had held power since 2000, is feeling a backlash via ballot. Voters are upset with the state of the country, and with more than 2,000 government offices up for election, the political future of Mexico is very much up for vote.
The frontrunning party is not unfamiliar to Mexican politics, and a curious choice for a country seeking change. Presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had held political power in Mexico for over 7 decades prior to 2000.
Indeed, it was the PAN that knocked out the PRI from Mexican leadership in 2000, as the PRI suffered from deep corruption, fraud and a practice of authoritarian ruling. So how is it that a party so historically tainted could now have a presidential candidate leading by double digits in the polls?
The answer lies in a deep-seated distrust of the current ruling party's ability to do anything about the economy and the country's violent drug war; according to Reuters, just this past Saturday, four people were murdered in Acapulco, and a local mayoral candidate was kidnapped.
And while the old PRI may not have a great track record in political leadership, the new PRI insists that it is a modern and democratic party, led by the 45-year-old Peña Nieto, a former governor, and a positive media blitz by the influential Mexican broadcasting company Televisa.
While not all Mexicans are convinced that the PRI is the best choice for the country, especially given their clout with Televisa, many share the sentiments expressed by businessman Fernando García to the NY Times:
"We were all hoping for real change with [former President Vicente] Fox. It didn’t happen... The rich are richer, the poor are poorer; the rest of us in between, we’re just surviving."
Sunday's election is expected to be one of the biggest in Mexican history, as for the first time, almost 80 million people have registered to vote, according to CNN.