Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mexico's campaign closes; final poll shows Enrique Peña Nieto up 18.4% on Manuel López Obrador; Josefina calls for Felipe Calderón to serve as next Attorney General

Mexicans head to the polls this Sunday, July 1

Mérida's Monumento a la Bandera, Monday, June 25, 2012

Mexico's long 2012 presidential campaign is over. Under federal election laws, campaign activity had to cease by midnight tonight. Voters will cast their ballots in just over 72 hours.

The so-called "period of electoral reflection" is designed to cool political tempers by prohibiting any form of overt campaigning from now through Sunday. Further polling is also forbidden to ensure that voters are not swayed by reported results. There are civil and criminal penalties for violators of either rule (Inicia periodo de veda electoral).

The final Milenio-GEA presidential preference survey showed Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto where he's always been, solidly in first place. The last poll published this evening reported him with almost 47% popularity. Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador returned once again to second place, which he has generally held for several weeks. National Action Party (PAN) candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota trailed AMLO by about six points, while the New Alliance Party's (NPA) nominee Gabriel Quadri de la Torre was far off the back, with token support of 2.2%. He'll have to wait until 2018 to move into Los Pinos.

Calderón for chief prosecutor
In her final day of whirlwind campaigning, Vázquez Mota said that Peña Nieto represents authoritarian government and the abuse of power, while López Obrador is "another face of PRI, who will bring political chaos and economic crisis" to Mexico.

The PAN nominee also said that if elected, she will invite the current leader of her party, president Felipe Calderón, to serve as Procuraduría de la Republica, the nation's attorney general and chief law enforcement officer.

A U.S. PEW Research Center survey published last week revealed that eight out of ten Mexicans still support Calderón's sometimes controversial National Security Strategy -- the use of armed forces against the drug cartels and organized crime -- and that the outgoing chief executive, whose last day in office is Nov. 30, retains a 58% popularity rating, two points higher than his likely successor, Enrique Peña Nieto. Mexican drug cartels will likely morph into "super gangs," says U.S. security firm. Calderón is an attorney.

Vázquez Mota's call for president Calderón to serve as the nation's next head prosecutor came just 24 hours after the Secretary of Public Security acknowledged that a narcotics distribution ring operating out of the Mexico City International Airport sent "huge amounts" of cocaine to the U.S. and Spain in the cargo holds of commercial aircraft. The SSP said Tuesday that Mexican Federal Police officers and customs agents were involved in the far flung conspiracy, which came to public attention Monday when two officers shot and killed three fellow agents who were about to arrest them in a busy airport terminal ("Narco Feds" operating out of Mexico City airport sent huge amount of drugs to U.S., Europe, aided by Mexican customs agents; Three dead in DF airport shooting).

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