Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Morena challenging Mexico State election (June 6, 2017)

Mexico's Morena party is preparing to challenge the Mexico State election results. They are demanding for a vote by vote recount, reports Animal Político. Morena leadership is also pointing to widespread allegations of voter intimidation, vote buying and misuse of public resources, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's post.) 

Yesterday the PRI candidate, Alfredo del Mazo Maza -- cousin of President Enrique Peña Nieto -- was declared the winner of the governor's race, but the results were within a few points of each other. A final tally is not expected until tomorrow. In part the results of the challenges could depend on whether other parties join Morena's allegations, or negotiate with the PRI to limit the upstart party, according to the Guardian.

Nonetheless, the final tallies are not expected to differ much from the preliminary results, which give del Mazo 33.7 percent of the vote and 30.8 percent to Morena's Delfina Gómez, reports the New York Times.

Morena leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador is no stranger to electoral litigation: after losing the 2006 presidential election by less than a percentage point, he disputed the results for months, including protests in the capital demanding a recount. This time around he has not called for massive protests though, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Though the PRI lost significant support from past elections, it benefitted from a divided opposition, according to the WSJ.

Still, Morena's strong showing in a PRI stronghold and key political race bode ill for the governing party in next year's presidential race, note experts. (See yesterday's post.) 

Regardless of who does win, the country's structures of political accountability are damaged and tend to favor inappropriate uses of power, writes México Evalúa director Edna Jaime in El Universal. She points to the importance of supporting corruption reform, recently passed at a national level, and says that without it, it would be disingenuous to expect better results of the incoming governors than those obtained by their predecessors.

Mexican authorities seek to extradite yet another former governor on corruption charges -- this time Roberto Borge, who served from 2011 to 2016 as governor of the state of Quintana Roo, who was arrested on Sunday in Panama, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Violence asides: A radio journalist was shot in Guerrero yesterday, and remains in critical condition, reports EFE. Luis Gómez Romero recaps the debate over Mexican homicide ranking in the Conversation.

News Briefs
  • Reversing the U.S. policy of engagement with Cuba would do little to further President Donald Trump's selective human rights concerns. Rather, it would pander to his electoral base, and return an utterly ineffective strategy, argues a New York Times editorial. "This hard-line sanctions-based approach was in place for more than 50 years after the 1959 revolution and never produced what anti-Castro activists hoped would be the result, the ouster of Cuba’s Communist government in favor of democracy. Isolating Cuba has become increasingly indefensible." The piece cites Engage Cuba's estimation that a reversal of the Obama administration's policies would cost the American economy $6.6 billion and affect more than 12,000 American jobs.
  • Colectivo Solecito uncovered another mass grave site in Veracruz, containing an estimated 70 mass graves, reports Animal Político. The group of victims' mothers found a grave site with the remains of 250 people last year, thanks to a hand drawn map tip-off. This site was also found with a hand drawn map, this time sent to their Facebook account, reports Animal Político. (See March 15's briefs.)
  • Brazil's top electoral court begins a landmark case today, examining whether the 2014 winning presidential ticket benefitted from illegal financing. The result could strip President Michel Temer -- vice president on the ticket -- of office, reports the Wall Street Journal. The court has moved slowly on the allegations, in part for political reasons say some experts, but has been pushed by recent allegations of corruption against Temer.
  • Brazil's endemic political corruption will hardly be solved by the potential ousting of President Michel Temer. The existing political system favors "archaic and corrupt power groups that are overrepresented in Congress," writes Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro in a New York Times op-ed. And solutions, such as campaign finance limits, or changing electoral thresholds to  reflect current demographic distribution are systematically opposed by lawmakers who would be threatened by these measures, he writes. "Whatever solutions are found in the short or long term, politics in Brazil will continue to suffer from instability until voters are allowed to oust the nation’s broken political leadership, in both the executive and the legislative branches, and regain some control of its democracy."
  • JBS, the Brazilian meat packing giant whose executives spurred the latest round of Brazil's political corruption crisis, previously purchased cattle from a farm under federal investigation for using workers as modern-day slaves, reports the Guardian and Repórter Brasil. JBS says it ceased buying from the farm on discovering the alleged link to labour abuses.
  • Venezuela's conflict keeps intensifying, but "there does not seem to be a stabilizing force that can induce a de-escalation.  It’s unclear if the country’s power struggle is experiencing a new cycle in its multi-year confrontation, or if two months of protests mark the start of a downward spiral that will plunge the country into even deeper crisis," writes Michael McCarthy in a grim Aula Blog post. "Neither the government nor opposition appears near the point of exhaustion that would make efforts at a meaningful negotiated settlement fruitful.  An examination of their agendas, moreover, paints a picture of an intractable conflict." (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales says an opposition "coup" backed by the United States is underway in Venezuela, reports DPA.
  • Chile's seven-party Nueva Mayoría coalition might split ahead of November's presidential elections, reports Bloomberg. Two separate factions may each field their own candidate and legislative lists, leaving the door open for conservative former president, Sebastian Piñera.
  • Paraguayan Finance Minister Santiago Peña resigned in order to run for president next year. He will compete in primaries for the Colorado party, reports EFE.
  • A Paraguayan court upheld  sentences against 11 indigenous campesinos who participated in a land protests that ended in a violent police eviction known as the Curuguaty Massacre in 2012, reports TeleSUR.
  • Colombia's Finance Ministry has been asked to provide over $1.2 million in initial funding for the Marxist FARC rebel group's new political party, reports Reuters. Funding would begin as soon as weapons handover is completed in 20 days. The initial funds will go toward operational costs and a think tank.
  • Colombia's oil and mining industries are facing a growing number of public referendums seeking to ban production, reports Reuters.
  • Almost 3,500 people in Uruguay have been displaced by floods caused by heavy rainfall, reports the BBC.
  • Mexico will reduce the proportion of refined sugar it can export to the United States to 30 percent under a new agreement likely to be announced later today, reports Reuters. (See yesterday's briefs.)

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