Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Russian role in Mexican election?

Real of not, the threat of Russian involvement in other countries' elections is a force to be reckoned with.

Mexico's leftwing frontrunner laughs off Russia jibes and says: I'm no Moscow stooge
Andrés Manuel López Obrador [known as AMLO], a populist former mayor of Mexico City, has become the focus of escalating – if unsubstantiated – allegations of Russian interference in the 1 July election…

In December, the US national security adviser HR McMaster said there had been “initial signs” of Russian meddling in Mexico. He offered no details…

According to western officials, Russia has used hackers, bots and fake news to influence campaigns from the US presidential election to the Brexit referendum and Catalonia’s independence vote.

And as the presidential election draws closer, similar suspicions have been voiced in Mexico – though evidence remains elusive…

But the suggestion that López Obrador is a Trojan horse for a foreign power has also brought back memories of the country’s contentious 2006 election, in which Amlo was ahead in the polls until attack ads compared him with the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez; Amlo’s support cratered and he lost by less than a percentage point.

Many Mexicans poured scorn on the idea that Russia could further destabilizing Mexico… or undermine its democracy, which has long been plagued by vote-buying and excessive campaign spending.

“If the point of Russian intervention in the electoral process is to undermine confidence in democratic institutions, the truth is there isn’t much left to do in Mexico. The Mexican political class has already done this work, without their help,” tweeted Carlos Bravo Regidor, professor at the Centre for Research and Teaching in Economics…

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