Texas benefits greatly from a stable, democratic Mexico with 125 million citizens. Thus, Texans should deeply care about elections in Mexico. To raise awareness of the importance of this 2015 election, the Baker Institute, under leadership of Dr. Tony Payan, invited Mexican political and moral leader Cuauhtémoc Cardenas to Houston for a talk on the state of Mexican Democracy (see entire video below).
Mexico will hold mid-term elections on Sunday June 7th. After a recent political reform, several parties were formed and there are now 10 political parties participating in the elections. The midterm elections will cover 9 of 31 state governors and the 16 burrows of the Federal District. In addition, several state legislatures will be renewed and the entire lower chamber, like our House of Representatives, with 500 members will be elected. Mexico elects a president and 128 Senators every 6 years—something that will happen in 2018.
Although reelection has been barred in Mexico since 1917, the 2014 political reform will allow reelection for mayors, congress members, and state legislators starting in 2018. Governors and presidents, however, will continue to be barred from reelection.
Cardenas believes the election will be relatively clean and democratic but it will imply few changes to the current President Peña Nieto’s sweeping reforms. He does feel however that it will be a referendum on the PRI party and its return to power. There will be a few gains and losses between the three major parties, the PRI, PAN, and PRD. He does not see wide spread violence during the election, even though there have been nearly 80 attacks on candidates or their campaign teams throughout Mexico.
Dr. Payan noted during the conversation with Mr. Cárdenas that the most important change will occur in the political left. Cárdenas has left the traditional left PRD party, which he founded in 1989, and the left is now split into several political parties so there is little national debate between the political left and right in Mexico. Both the PRI and the PAN sit on the right side of the spectrum and have governed the country from the right, with little hope of a challenge coming from a fragmented left.