Mexicans to elect continuity or change in Sunday’s election

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Mexico City, July 1 (IANS) Some 89 million Mexicans will be able to vote in Sunday’s presidential election, when they will decide whether they elect continuity, embodied in the two right-wing parties, the PRI and the PAN, or change, represented by the left-leaning candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In a country that has endured high levels of corruption and an intense wave of violence, it seems relatively unsurprising that Lopez Obrador has enjoyed a very healthy lead in the polls, Efe reported.

According to some of the polls, Lopez Obrador could win with around 50 per cent of the vote, which would arguably represent the first time that the left gains power in Mexico.

Since 1929, Mexico has been governed almost uninterruptedly by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) except for the administrations of Vicente Fox (2000-2006) and Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), of the National Action Party (PAN).

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Lopez Obrador managed to form an unorthodox coalition that includes his left-leaning National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party, the Workers’ Party and Social Encounter, a small evangelical party that rejects issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.

The other presidential candidates are the PAN’s Ricardo Anaya; Jose Antonio Meade, of the governing PRI, and Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez Calderon, who is the first independent candidate to run for president.

Whoever wins on Sunday, they will face a bleak reality marked corruption, impunity and generalized violence, which has lead to thousands of people being murdered or disappeared.

This violence has affected the election itself, as some 130 office seekers, party officials, and other political activists have been slain nationwide since the start of the campaign in September, while a total of 540 attacks have been registered, according to the consulting firm Etellekt.

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The head of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Lorenzo Cordova, said that violence “is there, it is painful and it complicates the organization of the elections, although it will not impede the elections to take place.”

Citizens will also elect the 128 members of the Senate, the 500 members of Congress, eight governors, the mayor of Mexico City, and some 3,000 officials at the state and municipal levels.

The logistics of organizing an election of this size are a daunting task, as 1.4 million citizens will act as officials in 157,000 polling stations that will be set up across the country.

The election will cost more than $1.2 billion dollars, which is the largest budget ever requested by the INE.

A large part of that budget represents public funding for political parties, which broadcast nearly 59 million campaign ads on television and the radio during the campaign season.

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–IANS

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