Clouthier, left, and Rodríguez Clouthier, left, and Rodríguez: independents made history.

States make it harder for independents

Chihuahua, Sinaloa pass 'Anti-Bronco' legislation

It’s being called the Anti-Bronco Law in reference to the successful candidate for governor of Nuevo León in the June 7 elections. But Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, nicknamed “El Bronco,” wasn’t just any candidate, he was an independent.

And in the states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, legislators appear to have decided that independent candidates for governor are not necessarily a good thing.

Yesterday in Culiacán, Sinaloa’s capital, the state Congress approved legislation that will require gubernatorial candidates to gather the requisite number of signatures for their nomination within just 40 days.

That’s 50 days fewer than an independent needs to run for Senate, yet in both cases the aspiring politician must collect signatures from a number equivalent to 2% of registered voters.

In Chihuahua, they took a different approach.

On Monday, its Congress gave approval to a restriction based on previous party activity: anyone who wishes to contest the governor’s seat as an independent must not have had any affiliation or connection with a political party for a period of three years prior to election day.

The legislation was timely: the state goes to the polls to elect a new governor next year.

Congress president Fernando Reyes explained in an interview that the law is designed to ensure that candidates who run without party affiliation are “truly independent,” and prevent such candidates from using party structures to establish themselves.

In Nuevo León, the new governor had been a longtime, active member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

One successful independent candidate for federal Deputy in Sinaloa says lawmakers in his state have failed to understand the message that voters sent in the June elections.

Manuel Clouthier Carrillo said many voters turned their backs on the established parties, so now the parties want to close the doors on the independents, and get even with the voters.

“They haven’t understood the message, [but] society is going to turn around and make them pay.”

Electoral reforms opened the door to independent candidates this year and six won seats.

Source: El Noroeste (sp), Milenio (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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