Hemisphere Focus: Yucatán State Election
Vol. 15, Issue 2 — May 17, 2007
May 17, 2007
Yucatán provides the venue for the first electoral contests since Felipe Calderón Hinojosa swore the presidential oath on December 1, 2006. State voters will select a state executive, 106 local governments, and 25 state legislators—15 by direct election; Voters in 13 other states will trek to the polls in 2007.
The president’s National Action Party (PAN) seeks to retain the governorship—now held by Patricio Patrón Laviada—with Calderón favorite, Xavier Abreu Sierra, as its standard-bearer.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose nominee, Ivonne Aracelly Ortega Pacheco, holds a slim lead in recent public-opinion polls, has threatened to curb its cooperation in Congress with Calderón if he, the federal government, or Governor Patrón Laviada meddles in this horse race.
PRI heavyweights—Beatriz Paredes Rangel, party president, Manlio Fabio Beltrones Rivera, Senate president, Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico State governor, and Natividad González Parás, Nuevo León governor—have worked hard for Ortega Pacheco. Not only do they want to ensure her victory, but they are eager to burnish the party’s image for the 2012 presidential election.
Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, the redoubtable de facto head of the 2.5-million member SNTE teachers’ union and founder of the New Alliance Party (PANAL), has thrown her support behind Abreu Sierra. She hopes to reprise her role as a kingmaker, a role that she played in the mid-July presidential competition when PANAL voters provided Calderón with the critical mass of support required to narrowly defeat the former Mexico City mayor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is currently barnstorming the country as Mexico’s self-selected “legitimate president.”
The closeness, bitterness, and national interest in the competition virtually ensure that the newly appointed, seven-member Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF), the country’s highest political court, will appeal the preliminary outcome.