Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Toward a two-party system?

All available parties are trying to cooperate and defeat the PRI. Can they do it? If they do, will it make a difference?

In Mexico, Unlikely Allies Hope to Defeat Resurgent Party
A decade ago, Mexico ended more than 70 years of control by the Institutional Revolutionary Party and elected an opposition president. But in Oaxaca, the PRI, as the party is known, has held fast through a vast party machine that dispenses patronage and often seems accountable to no one except the governor.

Map from Wikimedia Commons

The other parties believe that the only way to dislodge the PRI here is to unite across ideological lines against it. Mr. Cué is the candidate for a coalition of the conservative National Action Party and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, along with a couple of small parties…

To the party strategists in Mexico City, a win by Mr. Cué in Oaxaca will prove that a coalition is the best way to stop a return to the presidency by the PRI in the 2012 election.

The PRI has recovered — with an effective majority in the lower house of Congress and in state offices — through its rivals’ mistakes, said Daniel Lund, a Mexico City pollster and political analyst. The left has been divided, and President Felipe Calderón’s conservative party has lost ground amid the sluggish economy and the spiraling violence of the drug war.

The PRI has come back “by simply enduring and offering a vision of what was and what might be,” Mr. Lund said…

Sergio Aguayo, a political analyst at the Colegio de México in Mexico City, said that corruption in Oaxaca was so entrenched that he was skeptical that Mr. Cué would be able to make many changes if he won.

“Will he have the capacity for a major reform in Oaxaca, or will he be engulfed by the system?” Mr. Aguayo asked.

Esther Santiago López, 27, a Mixtec Indian woman with two children, said she had supported Mr. Cué until he allied with the conservative National Action Party. “They are the ones who repress the poor the most,” she said.

She has lost faith in all the traditional parties. “With each election, they give us a cap, a T-shirt and a bag,” she said. “They deceive us. They are just a bunch of rich people who pass the money around among themselves.”…

Still, the PRI has strong support in the state and the race is a tossup.

“The PRI gives more help,” said Salustia Cruz, 46, who displays a campaign poster of Mr. Pérez Magaña outside her house. She was especially grateful for the state government’s free mobile medical clinics...

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