Although some stubborn individuals insist that the results of the recent elections — in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won only five races for governor — were a punishment vote for the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, it is undeniable that a higher public approval rating for the federal government would have helped the three-color party.
The real punishment vote was performed according to the purest rules of democracy: the most discredited and corrupt governing parties lost, such as those in Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Quintana Roo, all of them disgraceful — and all of PRI extraction — or those who were unfit such as the three-party alliance of the National Action (PAN), Democratic Revolution and Citizens’ Movement parties in Oaxaca.
Some PRI members and nonpartisan citizens have complained about the president’s inaction to remove the awful governors from office, but they forget that one of the greatest successes of our Mexican democracy was to reduce the discretionary power of a presidentialist system that could name and remove governors at will.
Former president Vicente Fox tried but was unable to remove Ulises Ruiz, the Oaxaca governor, despite the 2006 crisis of the teachers’ union and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).
The elections of June 5 were also a measure of the failure of independent candidacies. They only managed to win a couple of relevant mayors’ offices, and in the gubernatorial candidacies no more than shameful percentages of the vote.
In the face of the stupid opinions of those who delusionally insist that Mexico is on the brink of becoming a failed state, the elections concluded well with great administration in thousands of polling stations (as we were able to witness here in Puerto Escondido), with a minimum of incidents or violence.
We know that Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his party Morena (National Renovation Movement) will make their usual accusations of fraud while at the same time extolling their wins.
But Morena couldn’t win Zacatecas, the only state where it participated at the governor’s level, and an anticipated source of funds for López Obrador’s presidential campaign in 2018.
In the end it was a democratic election and one of rotation that was inclusive of all political stripes.
There will be elections in three states in 2017 but the big prize will be the State of México. With over 11.5 million inhabitants, it has been until now the greatest electoral preserve of the PRI.
Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.