News / Americas

    Mexico Opposition Wins Key State Vote, Boosts Reform Outlook

    Candidate for governor of Baja California Francisco Vega De La Madrid (C) celebrates with fellow members of the National Action Party (PAN) in Tijuana, July 7, 2013.
    Candidate for governor of Baja California Francisco Vega De La Madrid (C) celebrates with fellow members of the National Action Party (PAN) in Tijuana, July 7, 2013.
    Reuters
    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic agenda looked to be on surer footing after local elections on Sunday yielded results that favor a cross-party pact he forged to push reforms through Congress.
     
    In the most closely watched race, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) won a tight contest for governor in its stronghold of Baja California, an outcome that should help defuse tensions between the opposition and Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
     
    Baja California was the only governor's office up for grabs as nearly half of Mexico's 31 states voted for a mix of local parliaments and city halls, producing results that allowed both the PRI and the PAN to claim success at the ballot box.
     
    In Baja California, the PAN had accused the PRI of trying to steal the election, so a change of power could have destabilized the “Pact for Mexico” the president made with the opposition to help strengthen his hand in Congress, where he lacks a majority.
     
    But a preliminary vote count on Monday showed the PAN won the race, about three percentage points ahead of the centrist PRI.
     
    The PAN's triumph is probably more useful to Pena Nieto than a win for his own party would have been because it should foster consensus-building on the key planks of his legislative program: opening up state oil monopoly Pemex to more private investment and a reform to bolster tax revenues.
     
    News of the PAN victory helped push up the peso more than one percent against the dollar in early trading.
     
    PRI chairman Cesar Camacho hinted that his party might challenge the vote count in Baja California. But Pena Nieto later urged all sides to accept the results, underlining the need to keep things friendly in Congress.
     
    “I reiterate that the government is ready to continue the dialog and deal-making with the political forces to agree the reforms need to consolidate our democracy and speed up Mexico's development and progress,” Pena Nieto said in Mexico City.
     
    A woman casts her vote in a ballot box for delegates at a polling station in San Bartolome Quialana, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico, July 7, 2013.A woman casts her vote in a ballot box for delegates at a polling station in San Bartolome Quialana, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico, July 7, 2013.
    x
    A woman casts her vote in a ballot box for delegates at a polling station in San Bartolome Quialana, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico, July 7, 2013.
    A woman casts her vote in a ballot box for delegates at a polling station in San Bartolome Quialana, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico, July 7, 2013.
    The electoral process had deteriorated into mud-slinging and mutual recriminations between the PRI and PAN by the time Mexicans cast their votes on Sunday, with each side accusing the other of resorting to dirty tricks to gain advantage.
     
    Violence also blighted the campaign, with several activists from the main parties murdered in a reminder of the government's struggle to curb blood-letting by drug gangs that has claimed more than 70,000 lives since the start of 2007.
     
    Pan Blues
     
    Outside of Baja California, the PRI did not go empty-handed, notching up some notable victories in mayoral elections.
     
    Jorge Buendia, head of polling firm Buendia & Laredo, said that the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Mexico's main leftist group and co-signatory of the pact, had fared less well.
     
    However, the PRD, which ran on a joint platform with the PAN in several electoral battlegrounds, including Baja California, said that it too had made important advances in some states.
     
    With 97 percent of the polling booths reporting in Baja California, the PAN gubernatorial ticket had won 47.2 percent of the vote against 44.2 percent for the PRI candidate, preliminary results from the local electoral authority showed.
     
    Since it lost the Mexican presidency last year, the PAN has been bogged down in infighting that has rattled the stability of the political accord Pena Nieto unveiled in December.
     
    PAN chairman Gustavo Madero, whose leadership has been under attack, said the party would still have to evaluate its commitment to the Pact for Mexico after an election campaign he said was marred by attempts by the PRI to steal and buy votes.
     
    But he said the results had vindicated the PAN.
     
    “We are still convinced that Mexico needs reforms,” Madero told Mexican radio, referring to the energy and tax plans.
     
    FILE - President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during the presentation of a telecommunications reform bill in Mexico City, March 11, 2013.FILE - President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during the presentation of a telecommunications reform bill in Mexico City, March 11, 2013.
    x
    FILE - President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during the presentation of a telecommunications reform bill in Mexico City, March 11, 2013.
    FILE - President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during the presentation of a telecommunications reform bill in Mexico City, March 11, 2013.
    Those ambitious reforms are due to be presented to Congress by early September. Pena Nieto is likely to face strong opposition from the left, especially to the Pemex shake-up.
     
    Tax reform and the Pemex overhaul are vital to Pena Nieto's hopes to raise economic growth to six percent a year from an average of barely two percent since the millennium began.
     
    Pollster Buendia said setbacks for the left on Sunday were likely to push the PRI closer to the PAN's position on how to approach Pemex reform, implying a stronger push to open up the state oil giant to foreign capital.
     
    The PRD lost control of the local government in the tourist resort of Cancun, where the PRI candidate won by a clear margin.
     
    Buendia said that with no major round of elections due in Mexico until 2015, the pendulum was swinging towards a more business-friendly political platform for economic reform.
     
    “For a couple of years what we're going to see is that there will be fewer approaches between the PAN and the PRD and more between the PRI and the PAN,” he said.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Brazilian Drug Lord Found Serving Time in Paraguay Prison ‘VIP’ Suite

    Raided by authorities, three-room ‘cell’ was found to have library, kitchen, conference room and even a plasma television

    Uruguay Formally Ends its Presidency of Mercosur Trade Bloc

    Ministry statement said there are no legal arguments for blocking transfer of presidency to Venezuela, it stopped short of announcing that Venezuela would now lead South American group

    Court: Brazil's Lula to Stand Trial for Obstruction of Justice

    Brazil's ex-president officially a defendant in sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras

    Australian Olympic Team Evacuated for Dorm Fire

    Small fire in basement of team living quarters caused no injuries; quality of Olympic housing for athletes sparks complaints

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Cambodian-American Swimmer to Compete at Rio 2016

    Brown University student said he hopes to break his previous record for the men's 100-meter freestyle at Olympic Games