Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, April 16, 2018

Cowboy candidate in Mexico

A candidate without a party might upset Mexican presidential election.

Mexico adds fifth name to presidential ballot despite fake signatures
Mexico’s electoral tribunal has included a colourful independent candidate on the ballot for this July’s presidential election, despite the fact 58% of the signatures supporting his nomination were invalidated.

Jaime Rodríguez
In a midnight ruling on Monday, the tribunal found in favour of Jaime Rodríguez, a cowboy turned state governor better known as “El Bronco”, allowing him to become the fifth candidate in the election.

Analysts said that his inclusion in the race, potentially pulls votes from the current frontrunner, Andrés Manuel López Obrador – a leftwing populist who courts the same anti-system voters as Rodríguez…

Three candidates achieved the 866,593 signatures – or 1% of the voters’ list – necessary to register. Two of them were disqualified for turning in signatures deemed fake or otherwise inadmissible.

Left off the ballot was María de Jesús Patricio, an indigenous Nahua and spokesperson for the National Indigenous Congress, who failed to reach the threshold, even though 95% of the signatures she collected were deemed valid – an irony not lost on supporters.

The contrast between Rodríguez and Patricio’s attempts to get on the ballot “is one of the clearest expressions of the inequality that exists in our country in access to the law: high requirements for all, but only the weakest are obliged to comply with it”, tweeted Andrés Lajous, an academic.

The ruling caused disquiet in Mexico, where the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) trails by double digits – but could benefit from Rodríguez’s inclusion in the race as PRI voters are considered the least likely to opt for an independent candidate.

Mexico’s electoral tribunal acts as a final arbiter for election matters but is widely perceived as having ruled in the PRI’s favour in a series of controversial cases.

“It’s an ace up the PRI’s sleeve,” said Federico Estévez, political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico…

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