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Mexico: Presidential Candidates Wind Up Their Election Campaigns

Election day – July 1, 2012 – is approaching: the day on which 79.4 million Mexican citizens will go to the polls to choose their next president, as well as many other public servants including state governors, mayors, senators and deputies.

Josefina Vázquez Mota, Enrique Peña Nieto, Andrés López Obrador and Gabriel Quadri are the four candidates looking to become the next president of the republic.

Their respective election campaigns will draw to a close on Wednesday, June 2, after which all campaign activities on the part of political parties or their candidates are prohibited by law. During the official campaign period (March 30 to June 27), the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), which is the independent constitutional body responsible for organising elections in the country, held two debates between the four candidates. The candidates had the opportunity to lay out their proposals for the general public and were invited to speak on certain topics considered to be of national importance and general interest.

The campaign period was marked by the emergence of a youth movement identified by the tag #YoSoy132 (I am 132), which provided a context for many of those involved to be heard on large-scale traditional media platforms like radio and television. Global Voices has been covering this movement and the broad range of opinion it has generated.

“History is ours, and it is made by the people” Photo by Flickr user jpazkual, licensed
Atribución-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Citizen campaigns aimed at raising awareness and encouraging people to vote were quick to emerge, and there was no shortage of initiatives supporting or opposing a particular candidate or party. Nevertheless, netizens such as Jonathangar (@Jonas23gar) [es] were also quick to remind people that the ultimate act of participation would be the vote itself and subsequent acceptance of the result:

¡En esta contienda electoral hubo mucha participación ciudadana, me gustaría la misma participación en las urnas, vota y acepta el resultado

In this electoral contest there has been a high level of participation, and I would like the same level of participation at the ballot box; by voting and accepting the result.

Similarly, Miguel Carbonell (@MiguelCarbonell) [es] wrote:

Estamos apenas a una semana de una votación histórica, que definirá nuestro futuro. Hay que participar votando, sin falta.

We’re only a week away from a historic vote which will decide our future. Participation must be in the form of voting; no exceptions.

Diego Valadés (@Dvalades) [es] said the following of the end of the campaign period:

La campaña presidencial termina sin que sepamos qué clase de régimen de gobierno nos espera.

The presidential campaign has finished without us knowing which class of government awaits us.

Regarding the ill-feeling and antagonism generated in the country by the political campaigns, Antonio Garci Nieto (@Garcimonero) [es] said the following:

Se acaban las campañas. A ver que otra cosa inventamos ahora para seguir odiandonos los mexicanos.

The campaigning is over. I wonder what else we Mexicans will invent to continue hating ourselves?

Other netizens like John M. Ackerman (@JohnMAckerman) [es] have used Twitter to denounce and criticize authority:

Solo 320 de 1,600 candidatos a diputados y senadores de mayoría relativa han entregado CV al IFE. Partidos irresponsables, autoridad omisa

Only 320 our of 1,600 candidates for the Senate and House of Deputies have submitted their CVs to IFE. Conclusion: irresponsible parties, absent authority.

“If you want more gas-guzzlers, more youth unemployment, pitiful wages and “ninis” [young people who neither work nor study], more misery, more corruption and Estela de Luz towers, more FOBAPROA and Pemexgate scandals, and National Action Party looting of Pemex, more educational disasters, another 60,000 deaths, and yet more scandals involving the likes of Moreira, Martha Fox, Diego Fernández, Montiel, Deschamp, Bibriesca, Larrazábal, Elba, etc, etc… Then vote for the criminals you see below!” Photo by J. Tadeo.

Ileana Fernández [es] from the website Vivir México summed up the context in which campaigning will end and election day will take place by saying the following:

Por un lado venimos de una elección, en el 2006, cerrada, en la que muchas personas se quedaron con la impresión de que se cometió fraude. Un Instituto Electoral que se ha desprestigiado y ha perdido la poca confianza que había ganado en años anteriores. La referencia del robo o violación de urnas en otras elecciones; sumado a las prácticas corruptas de campaña que los partidos han mostrado, no lleva a pensar que el 1 de julio se vayan a quedar muy tranquilitos.

On one hand we saw an election in 2006 which was not transparent and left many with the suspicion that a fraud was committed. We have an Electoral Institute which has shamed itself and lost what little confidence it had gained in previous years. This, along with references to theft and malpractice at the ballot box at other elections and the corrupt practices of parties in evidence during this campaign, do not lead one to believe that on June 1 all will be nice and peaceful.

Finally, regarding those individuals and organisations that have been encouraging people to issue a null vote in protest, El Blog de Izquierda [es] (The Leftwing Blog) left the following considerations:

Si los anulistas quieren tirar su voto a la basura basados en un falso “sentimiento de superioridad moral” con respecto a los que votan ES SU PROBLEMA. Lo que no se vale es MENTIRLE a la gente para manipularla de esa manera.

Lo curioso es que los anulistas tachan de borregos manipulados a los que sí votan y no pocas veces se sienten moralmente superiores por el hecho de anular su voto (lo cual ya se vio no sirve para nada)…sin embargo, no tienen el menor pudor en lanzar este tipo de mentiras en la red para ver a cuántos ingenuos logran engañar.

No te dejes engañar: VOTO NULO, PROTESTA NULA.

If those who vote null want to waste their vote out of a false “sense of moral superiority” over those who do vote, then that is their problem. What is not ok is lying to the people in order to manipulate them in this way.

What is curious is that those who vote null tend to label those who do vote as mindless sheep, and more often than not they feel morally superior for voting the way they do (which, as we have already seen, achieves nothing)… nevertheless, they feel no shame in spreading such rubbish online to see how many gullible people they can deceive.

Do not let yourself be deceived: A NULL VOTE is A NULL PROTEST

We will be waiting for the result which will be officially announced after election day on Sunday, July 1.

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