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Mexico 2012: latest election news

May 19, 2012

AMLO moves into second place

Several recent opinion polls have placed leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) above Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) for the first time.

Lopez Obrador now has the support of 24.8 percent of likely voters, while Vazquez Mota has just 23.1 percent, according to a Buendia & Laredo survey from Monday. Another poll conducted last week by GEA/ISA for Milenio newspaper put Lopez Obrador on 19.5 percent, above Vazquez Mota’s 18.8 percent.  A BGC poll published Monday in the Excelsior newspaper, however, showed the pair tied in second place, each with 26 percent support of those likely to vote. Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) still leads the polls.

Pledges, pledges, and more pledges

Since the start of their campaigns, presidential candidates Enrique Peña Nieto, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Josefina Vazquez Mota have all in one form or another vowed to eradicate poverty and corruption, create jobs, clean the environment, improve education and health and make the country safer.  So what new promises did they make this week?

Frontrunner Peña Nieto promised to provide a universal pension for all Mexicans aged over 65 if he becomes the next president. There are currently 7.5 million people over 65 in Mexico, but only three million of them receive any form of social security.

Lopez Obrador had already made universal pensions a campaign promise. He has also pledged to break up Mexico’s monopolies (Telmex, Televisa, etcetera) and support small and medium enterprises, as well as renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to benefit Mexican farmers.

Touring Jalisco last week as part of her bid to become Mexico’s first female president, Vazquez Mota called for “a new water culture,” promising to provide access to drinking water for everyone in Mexico.

Votes from abroad

Overseas voting in Mexico’s presidential election has begun. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) received 1,880 votes in the first 10 days after the polls were opened to Mexicans living abroad.

There are 59,044 foreign-based Mexican citizens registered to vote from 105 different countries.

McCartney’s free show takes on political edge

Five days after his well received performance in Guadalajara’s Omnilife Stadium, Sir Paul McCartney staged an enormous free concert in the Zocalo in Mexico City.

The former Beatle drew an audience of around 120,000 people (some reports put the figure as high as 200,000), while many more streamed his epic three-hour set live via Coca-Cola’s online TV channel.

With this being election season in Mexico, it was almost inevitable that even a rock concert would at times resemble a political rally.

At one point, supporters of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled a giant banner from the fourth-floor balcony of the Hotel Majestic which overlooks the square.

The publicity stunt drew derision from the crowd, who responded with loud boos. Thousands began shouting “Peña Nieto Out!” which quickly became one of the ten most discussed phrases in the world on social networking site Twitter.

There were also chants of “Obrador, Obrador, Obrador!” in support of leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City. His popular successor Marcelo Ebrard took the plaudits for arranging the gig and revelled in the ensuing publicity.

“Thanks to the mayor and the people of Mexico for making this beautiful site available for our show,” said McCartney prior to the concert.

Despite lapping up the attention, Ebrard did not actually cover any of the costs, confirming on Twitter that the concert was paid for by seven sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Nextel, AeroMexico and Hewlett Packard.

Having lost out to Lopez Obrador in last year’s primary, Ebrard will be hoping to lead Mexico’s left in the 2018 elections and events such as this will do his profile no harm whatsoever.

The Beatles remain super popular in Mexico and McCartney was keen to reciprocate the affection by waving the Mexican flag, inviting mariachis onstage to join him for “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” and introducing songs not only in Spanish but with plenty of Mexican slang.

“It was quite emotional and exciting that people who might not be able to afford to come to our shows could come to this. It was like Beatlemania all over again,” McCartney said after the show.

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