Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vote for nobody because nobody can solve our problems

I vaguely remember a semi-comic campaign during one election urging people to write in "nobody" because nobody could solve the nation's problems. In Mexico, the call is to vote for Nulo because it's the only way to get the message that politics as usual isn't working.

Disgruntled Mexicans Plan an Election Message to Politicians: We Prefer Nobody
With Mexico’s midterm elections two weeks away, the most spirited campaigning has been for a candidate with no name, no face and no particular policy positions. Call him Nulo.

Nulo — Spanish for null and void — is drawing support from disgruntled Mexicans who say the country’s politicians are focused more on their own power games than on the people they are supposed to serve...

Support for the Voto Nulo campaign has spread on the Internet, where supporters extol the virtues of sending Mexican political parties a stark message: Voting for nothing is better than backing the politicians currently running the country.

Mexico was essentially a one-party state until 2000, when the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI, finally lost its grip on the presidency. But a sense of frustration has developed in recent years as more choices on the ballot have not, in the minds of many Mexicans, translated into a more responsive government...

Just how much support Nulo will receive is unclear, although the Federal Election Institute, the public body that oversees the voting, has taken it seriously enough to put forward a counter campaign, and seven of the eight political parties in Mexico City gathered the other day to argue against the Nulo effort...

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