January 25, 2016

Political Thermometer


2016 marks the second half of the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.  Politically, this will be a crucial year as future presidential hopefuls will emerge.   For the political parties, 2016 will also be a significant year, as the governorships of 12 states are up for election.  Moreover, the election of Colima’s next governor is set to take place this month. Later this year, elections will be held in the states of Aguascalientes, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Veracruz and Durango. In Puebla and Veracruz, a governor will be elected for a two year term given adjustments to electoral calendars.  In all states, the goal of the political parties is to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI for its Spanish acronym).  Consequently, an alliance has been created between the National Action Party (PAN for its Spanish acronym) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD for its Spanish acronym) despite the fact the ideologies and politics of these two parties were once considered to be irreconcilable. Given that the PAN is a conservative party and the PRD is a generally leftist party, these two parties had not formed electoral alliances in the past. The result of the 2016 elections will be seminal, as the states of Oaxaca, Puebla and Veracruz, in the south, and Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Sinaloa, in the north, are of major demographic importance. While this does not mean that elections in other states will not be significant, it should be noted that if the PRI maintains a stronghold in the states it currently governs and retakes Puebla, it will strengthen its platform heading into 2018, when presidential elections will be held. These elections will also be marked by the emergence of independent candidates and the role of social media, as was seen in the 2015 elections.  Nevertheless, 2016 will be a year where the political thermometer will register high political temperatures.