Everywhere you turn in Mexico, whether it is on the streets, at family gatherings or coffee shops, conversation always seems to get directed towards the upcoming federal elections. Federal elections are scheduled every six years, on the first Sunday of July on an election year. This years elections scheduled for Sunday, July 1, 2012. Mexicans will be going to the polls to elect a president, 128 senators and 500 federal deputies on election day.
Mayors, deputies and senators are elected for a single, 3-year term while the president and governors are elected for a single, 6-year term.
With these elections taking place in less than a week, people of all ages at these various conversation sessions are saying that Enrique Peña Nieto will, without a doubt, win the presidential election.
Peña Nieto (PRI) is a really good-looking lawyer and former governor of the state of Mexico. The newspaper Reforma, in their most recent poll two weeks before the election, shows the PRIista’s lead at 12 points over the second-place Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD). For the most part, other voter surveys are also mirroring the trustworthy daily newspapers poll.
López Obrador, the candidate of the left, had been picking up some steam and some survey’s had him as close as four points behind Peña Nieto 3 weeks out. He is however, at the moment, clearly the second place candidate, now ahead of PAN’s Josefina Vásquez Mota, an economist and the first woman presidential candidate for a major political party. A fourth candidate, Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, is trailing far behind the other three.
An interesting aspect that has come out of these elections in not the discourse of candidates or the direction each would take the country in if they were elected president, but rather the student and youth movement I am 132 or Yo Soy 132. Yo Soy 132 seems to have been born out of social media and is not slowing down.
With 95 percent of television concessions in Mexico belonging to just two companies, Televisa and TV Azteca, what is seen and reported on television can be rather controlled. With inaccurate accounts of campaigning activities being reported on the major networks, Yo Soy 132 decided to hit back through the channels of You Tube and Facebook with the true version of events. Several of their videos have now gone viral.
Yo Soy 132 feels that the prefabricated Peña Nieto, the alleged choice of the two networks, was getting a free ride through the media to the presidency. Although Yo Soy 132 says that they are a “movement free from any political party and made up of citizens, and that’s why they do not support or reject any political candidate,” most of there energy has been hitting back at Peña Nieto.
The movement Yo Soy 132 has mobilized across the country, changing the discussion of these elections and have demanded change and real discussion of each of the presidential candidates, particularly that of Peña Nieto.
If anything, the student movement has proven that social media can influence and possibly change the course of an election.
However the outcome may be next Sunday, many voters have been singing the same tune. As one voter mentioned, “It will be a somewhat difficult decision for me, because I don’t really care for any of the presidential candidates, and I don’t have a lot of confidence in any of the political parties. However, I will vote, because it is my right and I want to participate in these elections.”
In La Paz, voting stations in local schools will be opened on Sunday, July 1st from 9:00 in morning and until 5:00 pm. Vote counting should began at each station by 6:00 pm and preliminary results could be announced as early as 8:00 pm that evening.