Center-Left P.R.D. & Former Governing P.R.I. Score Strong Victories in Recent State Elections

SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico, October 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Center-Left P.R.D. & Former Governing P.R.I. Score Strong Victories in Recent State Elections


The center-left Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD) and the former governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) each scored significant victories in state elections in late September and early October. Voter participation was low in both elections.

The PRD won a high percentage of the vote in the southeastern state of Guerrero on Oct. 6, while the PRI held on to its dominance in the northern state of Coahuila in the Sept. 29 election. President Vicente Fox's center-right Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) fared poorly in both elections, although the party did win two important municipal races in Coahuila.

PRD ends PRI dominance in Guerrero

The PRD's major gains in Guerrero state came at the expense of the PRI, which had been the dominant party in the state. The PRI ran some races in the Guerrero election in coalition with the Partido Verde Ecologista Mexicano (PVEM), while the PRD's partner in some municipal contests was the Partido del Trabajo (PT).

The PRI-PVEM and PRD-PT each took close to 40% of the total vote in Guerrero, but the PRI managed to retain a thin majority in the state legislature and the mayoral seats in the capital of Chilpancingo and the city of Taxco. The PRI's victory in Taxco came at the expense of the PAN, which had governed the city for the past three years.

The PRD scored its most impressive victory in the resort of Acapulco, the state's most populous city. PRD candidate Armando Lopez Rojas defeated Ernesto Rodriguez Escalona of the PRI by a nearly 2-to-1 vote, allowing the Acapulco government to remain in the hands of the center-left party. The PRD wrested Acapulco away from the PRI in the 1999 election.

The PRD also won the mayoral elections in the tourist-oriented cities of Iguala and Zihuatanejo.

In the state legislature, the PRI won 15 of 28 directly elected seats, with the other 13 seats going to the PRD. The PAN did not win a single directly elected seat and will be represented only through the seats that are distributed based on the percentage of the vote received. The PAN gained 9% of the total statewide vote, which will entitle the party to two at-large seats in the state legislature.

As in the two most recent state elections, the Oct. 6 race exposed strong animosities between the PRI and the PRD. In the 1999 gubernatorial race, the PRD accused the PRI of stealing the election through massive fraud. That race was won by PRI candidate Rene Juarez, the current governor (see SourceMex, 1999-02-10).

Tensions between the two parties were high throughout the state, but the only physical violence occurred in the community of Teloloapan, where PRD candidate Modesto Brito Gonzalez won a narrow victory over Tomasa Garcia Figueroa, who represented a PRI-PVEM coalition. The announcement of the narrow PRD victory prompted a mob of armed PRI supporters, led by former federal legislator Pedro Pablo Uriostegui, to block the Iguala-Altamirano highway and the PRD headquarters in the city for several days. …

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