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Legislative mid-term election planned

July 5, 2009 - MEXICO

Mexico's mid-term election for its 500-member Chamber of Deputies, six governors and mayors and local legislators in 11 states is scheduled for Jul 5. There was speculation that the ballot would be postponed due to the swine flu outbreak, but the rate of infection now appears to be ebbing. Swine flu could play into the results as opposition parties criticize the handling of the crisis by the governing National Action Party (PAN). The drug war could also play into the election.

Mexico's mid-term election for its 500-member Chamber of Deputies, six governors and mayors and local legislators in 11 states is scheduled for Jul 5. There was speculation that the ballot would be postponed due to the swine flu outbreak, but the rate of infection now appears to be ebbing. Swine flu could play into the results as opposition parties criticize the handling of the crisis by the governing National Action Party (PAN). The drug war could also play into the election. A May poll by Consulta Mitofsky gives the once long-governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) the edge over the PAN, which is vulnerable. The PAN has the most seats in the Senate and in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, but lacks a majority in either. The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is in third place. The left-leaning PRD leads an alliance with the Green Environmentalist Party (PVEM). Since April, Mexico has been hard hit by the swine flu outbreak. The number of infections is ebbing, but the number of cases could top 3000 by July. The death toll, which stood at 58 in mid May, is also likely to increase. The federal government ordered all schools and church services shut down until early May. Restaurants and shopping malls were also placed under tight restrictions. As polling stations are potential places for the transmission of the disease, the government could sell the postponement of the poll as a safety measure. The epidemic has become a political weapon. Initially, the parties were barred from holding rallies, as a way of preventing the spread of infection. Campaign events are now allowed, but officials are trying to prevent big crowds. New government health guidelines require attendees to stay at least 7 feet from one another. The arrests of 10 mayors, 17 officials and a judge in the state of Michoacana and the continuing drug war in Mexico have thrown some candidate lists into disarray. The arrested individuals, from all three parties, are alleged to be 'narco-politicians.' According to officials, 8,200 people have been killed since Jan 2008 as rivalling drug cartels have engaged in a violent conflict for control of the country's drug-trafficking routes. Jose Vazquez, the mayor of the Michoacan town of Turicato who was murdered in Nov 2008, once said that drug cartels have to OK election candidates. Few details have been released about the candidates, but they are believed to too close to the drug lords. May/05

Mexico flu response blends into election campaign (LA Times 9 May 2009)

"ANALYSIS: Arrests of mayors shake Mexico's political structures - Monsters and Critics" -

Gunmen ambust four leftist politicians in Mexico (AP/Fox 25 May 2009)

Date written/update: 2009-07-05