Mexico’s Presidential Election

Exactly one month to go till the July 2nd vote to choose a new president. I find politics here to be quite amusing. So much public passion for so little political action! The candidates themselves plaster the country with tens of thousand of posters featuring their photo with a sinister grin and/or thumbs up!

The debate tends to involve speechs such as “I will be the first president ever who won’t totally rip the country off!”, followed by “No, he’s lying, he will rip you off more than anyone else ever! I will be the first president ever who won’t totally rip the country off!” And repeat as necessary!

The election looks close and although there are three main parties involved, only two are in with a chance. The current President Vicente Fox, who has to leave office after one term due to constitutional limits, may be succeeded by his fellow PAN party memeber Felipe Calderon. The main character though is Lopez Obrador, who arouses some very strong feelings! People seem to have forgotten the other candidates when you ask them about what they are hoping for….they either really want Obrador, or they really don’t want Obrador, because they hate him. Regardless of the alternatives.

He has been labelled a Mexican version of Venezuela’s very leftist president Chavez. But I think that’s largely propaganda, and Mexico is a very different country to Venezuala. He was previously a very controversial Mayor of Mexico City. He left the city heavily in debt and was surrounded by corruption scandals (What?? Corruption? In Mexico City?)In his favour, he did introduce new pension schemes and build the Metro Bus system, which has fixed stations along a reserved lane on Insurgentes Avenue.

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