El Bronco, ex-priísta. El Bronco, ex-priísta.

The illusory lure of the independents

Independent candidates not necessarily a sign of better democracy

The success of independent candidate Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, widely known by his nickname “El Bronco,” in his candidacy for the governor’s seat in the important state of Nuevo León captured the attention of national political circles, and confirmed the citizens’ rejection of the many shady deals of the Mexican political system and its political parties.


Other victories have inspired the participation of independent candidates in this year’s elections.

A major issue for independent candidates in positions like that of El Bronco is to deal with Deputies and mayors from different political extractions, and their constituency and their diverse political tendencies.
It’s been hard for El Bronco to settle into a system that requires negotiation and tact, and that can’t be solved by donning a Texan hat and riding a horse into the state government’s headquarters.

I just returned from the state capital, Monterrey, and the people there are still conservative in their judgement of the governor, saving it for a later time in his administration.

The reality of independent candidates does not keep them from being influenced by possible factional and criminal interests. They also require support in the form of signatures of thousands to participate.

Let’s also remember that by having more independent candidates, the advantage for established parties, with their core voters, becomes greater.


Independent candidacies aren’t a sign of a better democracy. In many cases, those candidates are disgruntled characters, shunned from the candidate list by their former political parties, or just individuals who want to play at politics.

In a recent opinion piece published by the newspaper Milenio, Ricardo Alemán said the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) will likely win a “full house” in the June elections.

Alemán then ironically said that almost 90% of the important registered candidates are currently affiliated to the PRI, or were at one time in their careers.

The PRI is without doubt the great political academy.

Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

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  • James Smith

    there is no such thing as a true independent political candidacy in mexico. not yet anyway. they are all a front for the established parties. much as are the greens a mere front for pri.

    • mrpoohead

      ………and there ain’t in the US – Democrats or Republicans what’s the difference? Pro-choice, Pro-life that’s about it, some gun laws or none. Both parties supported by the same large industries – plutocracy (you’ll have to look that one up – big word). Vote centre-right or a bit further right – because we’re scared of left of centre, despite all other Western countries having better balanced societies. Scaredee cats! Miss me, xxx

  • Güerito

    “The PRI is without doubt the great political academy.” Yeah, like the Communist Party in the old Soviet Union is the “political academy” for much of the politicians in Russia today.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe that best transitioned to true democracy are those that either banned outright the party or brought to trial the party leaders that committed all the atrocities during the Soviet-era.

    Too bad Mexico didn’t do that with the PRI party and its leaders after 2000. I understand why it wasn’t done, but what a lost opportunity…