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lunes, 8 de mayo de 2017

A Mexican Governor’s Race Carries Presidential Implications

A Mexican Governor’s Race Carries Presidential Implications

Teotihuacán en Línea. The New Cork Times By Kira Semplemay. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement in Mexico, is a front-runner in early polling for next year’s presidential election.
The allegations have been flying fast in the bitter campaign to lead Mexico’s most populous state. Vote buying. Payoffs. Alliances with rogues. The illegal use of public funds. The flexing of Mafia-style muscle.
In other words, it’s business as usual in the State of Mexico, where control of the governor’s office, up for grabs every six years, is the biggest prize of all state contests.
The outcome of the race has long been considered a bellwether for the presidential election, providing the victorious party with momentum, campaign money and political influence over the largest state in the country. And this year that seems especially true.
For more than 80 years, the governor’s office in the State of Mexico has been under the control of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or P.R.I. And with each victory, the party has reaffirmed the state as its central political bastion. Its candidate won the last election, in 2011, with more than 61 percent of the vote.
But this year, the race is shaping up to be perhaps the closest ever, possibly foreshadowing a similarly tight contest next year in the race to succeed President Enrique Peña Nieto, a member of Institutional Revolutionary Party.
His deeply unpopular tenure, limited to a single six-year term by Mexican law, is weighing heavily on the party’s bid to retain both the State of Mexico governor’s office and the presidency.
That the Institutional Revolutionary Party is fighting for its life in the State of Mexico is even more significant because Mr. Peña Nieto is a native of the state and was its governor before winning the presidency.
But unbridled corruption, weak economic growth, soaring violence and the government’s own halting response to President Trump’s aggressive stance toward the country have eroded support for the Mexican president and his party, helping the political opposition improve its chances at the polls.
The biggest beneficiary so far, it appears, has been the leftist National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, led by the populist agitator Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He has tried to harness nationalist animus toward Mr. Trump by criticizing Mr. Peña Nieto’s handling of the American president and casting himself as a strong defender of Mexican sovereignty.
Mr. López Obrador, 63, is a front-runner in early polling for next year’s presidential election, and his momentum has helped to advance his party’s candidates at the regional level.
In the State of Mexico campaign, two polls released late last month showed his party’s candidate, Delfina Gómez Álvarez, 54, taking a thin lead over the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s candidate, Alfredo del Mazo Maza.
The election is on June 4. Campaigns for governor are also being waged in the states of Coahuila and Nayarit, but in the State of Mexico the stakes — and the spoils — are far greater.
“It would be a big, big, big loss for the P.R.I.,” said José Merino, a political analyst in Mexico City. The impact of a defeat on the party’s bid to retain the presidency could be profound, he said.
“It wouldn’t be checkmate, but it would be check,” Mr. Merino said.
The State of Mexico wraps around Mexico City and has absorbed most of the capital region’s stunning population growth in recent decades. It is in some ways a microcosm of the country, embodying its extreme socioeconomic contradictions.

“It’s a very, very diverse state,” said Vidal Romero, head of the political science department at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. “It has places with a lot of wealth — individuals, companies, industries — and it has places with enormous poverty.”
The state is home to more than 16 million people, about 14 percent of the nation’s population, and its economy ranges from manufacturing to commerce to agriculture, its landscape from mountains to slums.
Like the nation as a whole, the State of Mexico has also been wrestling with rising violence and unremitting corruption, which Mr. del Mazo’s opponents have used to bludgeon him and his party.
They have also cast him as the epitome of political privilege, a person whose victory at the polls would only perpetuate the clubby, dynastic control of the nation’s most powerful offices. In addition to being the son and grandson of former State of Mexico governors, Mr. del Mazo is Mr. Peña Nieto’s cousin.
To drive that point home, Josefina Vázquez Mota, 56, the candidate of the conservative National Action Party, regularly refers to Mr. del Mazo as “the president’s cousin” in lieu of his name

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