Big Election Coming Up

We have 18,311 candidates for various offices
BY: DAVID FLORES

On Sunday, July 1st, Mexico will elect a new president for the 2018-2024 period, as well as lawmakers for both chambers of congress. Some states are also electing new governors and mayors. You will see signs around, so pay attention to our explanation for you. No, there are no lawn signs, who has lawns around here? They tend to paint candidate’s names and slogans on walls. You will see president this and president that, but don’t be confused, the mayor of our town is in a hotly contested race and the position is actually called president of the city. We usually translate that office as mayor for you. There is actually no such office in Spanish as mayor.

This year elections are being called by political analysts historical for several reasons: one, the number of candidates running for president is four but started with five, as one has already pooped out.  In the past, the number of candidates was no more than three, but this is the first year independent candidates not affiliated with any political party are allowed to run, so they have.

A total of 18,311 political candidates are running for one position or another and this is the largest number of candidates in one single election. It’s good to have spares, as so far 36 candidates running for local office have been assassinated.

This is the largest number of voters ever, with 89 million people registered to vote. This is the largest ever number of people who turned legal age. In time for their first election. There are 12 million Millennials that will vote for the first time in their lives. Of those, usually about 45% show up to vote.

The cost of elections is estimated at $1.8 billion USD, and that does not include the huge amount of money three of the candidates are spending in promotional campaigns.

And now, we give you the candidates:

Leading the polls is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 64 years old, known as AMLO for his long name initials. He has degrees in political science and public administration from the UNAM, Mexico’s highly regarded public university.

He is a far lefty and a populist, the former leader of the PRD party, and current leader of the Morena party which he stitched together with coalitions. He went into cahoots with other, smaller political parties under the name of “Together we will make history.” He has been compared to Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, former and current presidents of Venezuela, and we all know how that country ended up.

Second in the polls is Ricardo Anaya, 39 years old, a conservative Mexican lawyer and politician, and a member and former president of the PAN party. He has held the positions of lawmaker of the Congress, President of the Chamber of Deputies and leader of the Pan party. He destroyed AMLO in the presidential debates, there is no question about that, even among AMLO’s supporters.

The third candidate is Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña, 49, known as Pepe Meade, who represents the center-right PRI party that held power for over 70 years, lost to the PAN party in 2000, and won the presidential seat again in 2012. He has degrees in law and economics and a doctorate in economics, public finance and international economics from Yale university, where he has also been a professors Meade has served as secretary of foreign affairs, secretary of social development, secretary of energy and twice as secretary of finance and public credit.

Then there is Jaime Rodriguez Calderon, known as “El Bronco,” as in an untamed horse. El Bronco is 61 years old, with a degree in agricultural engineering and has been city mayor and governor of the northern industrial state of Nuevo León.

A candidate who has thrown in the towel is Margarita Zavala, wife of former President Felipe Calderón. She just could not get any traction and declined to continue. She did not throw her less than 5% to any other candidate, she just quit.

The polls show AMLO leading by about 20 points and most observers feel that is insurmountable and he will be our next president. This will be his third attempt, one time losing by so close he threw a hissy fit and encouraged his supporters to demonstrate in the streets of Mexico City, claiming he had been robbed of the election. But here he is back again and this time he’s leading. He’s not a quitter. Many people think his perceived lead is responsible for the most recent dump of the peso, as he is promising more social programs that will be expensive to fund. He says he will get the money from under the seat cushions of the government. Just checking to see if you’re paying attention. He plans to fund these social programs by curbing corruption.