Mexican Midterm Elections: The Reemergence of the PRI

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Mexican Midterm Elections: The Reemergence of the PRI Powered By Docstoc
					   COUNCIL ON HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS                                           Vol. 29, No. 14            30 July 2009

          Washington Report on the
                The Biweekly Source for Western Hemispheric News, Analysis, and Opinion

     Mexican Midterm                                 Honduras Could be                                   Earthquake Exposes
        Elections:                                   Limping Towards its                                 Fault Lines In Costa
     The Reemergence                                  Gotterdammerung                                     Rican Governance
        of the PRI                                      Although talks between officials of the ex-        About six months ago, on January 9, 2009,
                                                   iled Honduran government and the de facto           Costa Rica experienced one of the greatest
   “PRI crushes the President,” declared Mex-      regime now in power in Tegucigalpa began            natural disasters to have ever hit it. The 6.2
ico City’s Milenio newspaper following the         earlier this month, at the San Jose residence       magnitude earthquake that struck 20 miles
midterm elections on July 5. Mexico’s con-         of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, it has        north of capital San José caused more than
servative President Felipe Calderón endured        not taken long for the modicum of hope sur-         30 casualties, displaced 2,200, and affected
a significant setback when his Partido Acción      rounding the negotiations to dissipate. This        more than 120,000 people in all. In hindsight,
Nacional (PAN) was unseated by the Partido         disillusionment with the diplomatic process is      a picture of the current health of Costa Rican
Revolucionário Institucional (PRI) in the          especially potent as neither ousted President       society may be painted through the analysis
House of Deputies (the lower house of Con-         Manuel Zelaya nor interim President Roberto         of the public, private, and non-profit sectors’
gress) and also suffered losses in gubernatorial   Micheletti are currently participating in any       responses to the disaster. Although the catas-
elections. Despite Calderón’s 69 percent ap-       kind of talks with each other aimed at resolv-      trophe exposed inefficiency and disorganiza-
proval rating in May, the victories for the PRI    ing the constitutional stand-off now in effect in   tion in President Oscar Árias’ administration,
are seen as the result of voter disenchantment     one of the poorest countries in Latin America.      it also demonstrated the solidarity of the Costa
with the ruling PAN, and overall public frustra-   Frustration with the process has flared up in       Rican population and the strength of civil so-
tion with increasing drug-related violence and     the international community, which is united        ciety in a country that lately has been criticized
the global economic crisis. The PAN will now       in its decision that the status quo must be re-     for becoming increasingly individualistic and
have to fight an uphill battle to win the 2012     stored. There is widespread belief that the in-     self-absorbed.
presidency and even will be hard-pressed to        terim government is stalling in a bid to hold       A Quick Initial Response
have its budget passed by the House of Depu-       out until the November elections, and the dis-           Initially, the Costa Rican government’s re-
ties without having to make concessions.           satisfaction with the results to date manifested    sponse to the earthquake was both timely and
Reshuffling Power                                  in Zelaya’s perhaps rash announcement July                 Earthquake / Continues on page 5.
     Overall, the PRI won 36.6 percent of the      13th, that if not reinstated by the end of the
vote, while the PAN earned 28 percent in mu-       next round of talks, which began July 19th, he                  IN THIS ISSUE
nicipal, gubernatorial and federal elections.      will resort to other means. Ominously, nego-
The left-leaning Partido de la Revolución          tiations again broke off less than 24 hours after     1       Mexican Elections
Democrática (PRD), Mexico’s third major
                                                   being resumed as the Micheletti delegation re-
party, earned only 12 percent of the vote. This    jected Arias’ proposed seven point plan.                      Honduran Coup
was largely due to internal divisions within         Before the coup, Honduras was already mired
the party and former presidential candidate        in poverty and corruption, and was notorious                  Costa Rican Quake
Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s past divisive
campaign and his move to support the Parti-
                                                   for its reputation as one of the least transpar-
                                                   ent countries in Latin America, and extremely
                                                                                                         4       Drug Report

            Mexico / Continues on page 3.                    Honduras / Continues on page 2.           
Description: Security also remains a significant concern to Mexican voters and the PRI could hinder Calderons offensive against drug cartels and organized crime. Since Caldern declared a war against drug cartels in 2006, there has been a dramatic increase in drug violence and casualties.
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