Been There


Byline: Gemma Cruz-Araneta

FILIPINAS and Mexico have the same vices and virtues. I consider myself fortunate for being able to divide my time and live in these two sister republics, as a result of a series of unexpected events. I have argued that in some ways, Mexico is about fifty years more advanced than Filipinas, but, I also have reason to believe that in certain aspects, Filipinas is more experienced than Mexico. Take the recent presidential elections in Mexico, for example. The candidate of the ruling party, Partido AcciA[sup.3]n Nacional (PAN), former energy secretary Felipe Calderon, won by less than one percent (.56 percent to be exact) over erstwhile Mexico city mayor, Andres Lopez, candidate of the Partido de la RevoluciA[sup.3]n DemocrA tica (PRD). As expected, the latter protested cried fraud and not only took to the streets but literally took over main thoroughfares and occupied the principal plaza with a multitude of infuriated sympathizers who put up tents and barricades. To confused and appalled Mexican friends who solicited my prognosis, I ventured that president-elect Calderon might face a legitimacy issue which will impact on his official decisions. Even if Congress had duly noted protests of the opposition and both the Supreme Court and the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) have validated the Calderon victory, the margin is just too slim for comfort. WeA[acute accent]ve been there, haven't we?

Editorial writers, television and radio commentators have observed that president-elect Felipe Calderon has no charisma so he has a serious image problem. People are waiting to hear a clear and definite discourse of where he wants to take the country. Even if this is the second time the Partido Accion NacionalA[acute accent]s (PAN) candidate has won the presidency, the current political "denouement" is still very new to Mexico; until recently, the keystone of its system was precisely the predictability of the presidential elections. For seventy-five years, the candidate of the then ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) always won by a landslide which, to a large and safe measure, assured continuity in government policies, strengthened institutions and guaranteed a stable environment for both local and foreign investors. …

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