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Feature 062215 Pazos

Monday, June 22, 2015

How Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, Wins

By Luis Pazos

The PRI is the only Mexican political party with true nationwide coverage; the others are still regional. One of the reasons the PRI regained the presidency, besides the internal fights in the National Action Party (PAN), was because the majority of the governors, still members of the PRI, invested millions in resources to pay political operatives who for 12 years, 365 days a year, recruited voters in order to increase the party faithful or enlisted vote. On election days, if needed, they go to their homes and transport them to the polls and then they give them "little gifts" in goods, vouchers or cash. A former Governor of Veracruz once said that there is no expensive vote, as he not only bought votes but too candidates of other parties, dividing the opposition.

When I ran for Governor of Veracruz [1998, on the PAN ticket] I received money for two full time cars with three people each, to proselytize throughout the campaign. No more than a score of people from the state committee helped us full time. We spend 14 million pesos of the 20 authorized; while the PRI candidate [Miguel Alemán Velasco] spent more than 200 million, paid surreptitiously with tax money, to full time promoters of the vote – 6,000 teachers of the SNTE, and others from the PEMEX union and campesino organizations. In spite of this, even though they won, their percentage of the vote was reduced and that of the opposition increased.

The best allies of the PRI include those with little civic education, union leaders, those who do not vote (more than half of the registered voters), and those who cancel their vote. In the recent elections there were approximately 1.8 million null and void ballots, which represented nearly 5% of the vote. If those votes had gone to opposition parties, even though the PRI spent the most legal and illegally, the PRI would have lost more deputy seats, two more states, and it would not have gained the majority in Congress, not even with its allies.

The solution is not to simply complain, denounce, criticize or call for the cancellation of votes, but to continue the struggle through democratic and peaceful means, that in the meantime will give better results to more Mexicans with greater knowledge about the real effects of demagogic economic policies [as they] assist via their ballots, not burning them or casting a null and void vote — but a vote that is rational, peaceful and honest.

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Luis Pazos (e-mail: lpazos@prodigy.net.mx), who heads the Free Enterprise Research Center (CISLE) in Mexico City, holds a master's degree in Public Finance and a doctorate in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  A prolific writer and forethoughtful analyst, Dr. Pazos' commentaries on Mexican economics, finance and politics have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Americas.  As well, he is the author of numerous books.

Edited translation by MexiData.info.

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