On July 4, Mexico holds elections for governorships in 12 states.
Some polls show that the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) -
which ruled Mexico for seven decades - could win every state. Could
Mexico's drug war unseat President Felipe Calderon and put the PRI
back in power?
Mexico's main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
appears poised for a major victory in upcoming gubernatorial
elections as the president's party takes the fall for a violent drug
At least that's what the party and some opinion makers are
suggesting, heralding a "renaissance" of the PRI - which ruled the
nation for over seven decades before losing the presidency in 2000.
Some surveys forecast a clean sweep for the PRI in all 12 states
holding elections for governor on July 4.
"The PRI reemerges, the PRI revives, the PRI resuscitates," frets
Denise Dresser, a prominent Mexican commentator, in a May 17 column
in Reforma newspaper. In the column she portends the return of what
she calls a corrupt political machine in Mexico.
IN PICTURES: Mexico's drug war
But even if the PRI picks up most states in the elections,
analysts question the significance of the victory.
The tricolor - as the PRI is known for its red, white, and green
logo that shares the same colors as the Mexican flag - already holds
nine of the 12 governorships in dispute, and winning three more
states may not have much impact, some observers say. Some polls even
show close races in up to four states: Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Sinaloa,
"The PRI's voting levels haven't gone down in the last few years,
nor have they come up," says Federico Estevez, political analyst at
Mexico's Autonomous Technological Institute. "What is favoring the
PRI right now is nothing within the PRI, nor between the PRI and its
electorate, but rather its two main rivals that have been hurting
over the last two years."
The PRI's main opponent, President Felipe Calderon's conservative
National Action Party (PAN), has been losing votes in both state and
congressional elections. Some analysts point to the escalation of
drug violence and a deep economic recession in 2009. More than
23,000 people have been killed in drug-related attacks since
December 2006 when Mr. Calderon threw the Mexican armed forces into
an anti-drug cartel offensive. The latest and most notable victim
was the leading PRI gubernatorial candidate in Tamaulipas.
Those who support the PRI say the party would employ less violent
means to confront drug lords, although the party itself has yet to
present a clear proposal. …