Melgar-Adalid: Winners and Losers in Mexico’s July 2013 Elections

Dr. Mario Melgar-Adalid
Dr. Mario Melgar-Adalid

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The elections held in July 2013 in fourteen states of the Mexican Republic had winners and losers as is the case in any democratic political contest.

Although it is normally believed that the winners are those who win the election, in these elections, at least in the election for governor of Baja California, won by the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was also a winner despite its loss.

The PAN victory affirms its leadership in this important border state where it has won the governorship for five consecutive terms. Despite its loss, the PRI was also a winner given the following: the structural reforms launched by President Peña Nieto under the Pact for Mexico are underway and the three most important reforms—tax, financial and energy, including Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), are still pending.

These reforms can proceed only if they have the support of at least one of the opposing parties – the PAN or the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The PRD has announced that it will oppose the energy reform and even more so if this changes the rules that determine the State’s control over subsurface and hydrocarbon resources. Similarly, it is foreseeable that the PRD will oppose tax increases, such as the proposed application of the value added tax to purchases of food and medicine.

This means that the PAN must serve as an ally to the PRI regarding the proposed constitutional and legal reforms as to energy and tax laws. A loss for the PAN in Baja California would have caused an internal crisis in the party, which would have prevented the formation of a consensus in Congress in favor of the reforms promoted by President Peña Nieto.

In addition, a crisis appears to exist within the major opposition parties, the PAN and PRD, which is not conducive to a relatively new modern democracy that is still in some ways fragile. The PAN and PRD parties are undergoing internal divisions and battles for political leadership aggravated by electoral losses; in this environment, generally speaking, the PAN victory actually helps the PRI and the current state of democracy in Mexico.

Dr. Mario Melgar-Adalid is a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers (SNI). He is a Law researcher at UNAM’s Institute of Juridical Research and currently an Of Counsel at Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton, L.L.P. in San Antonio. He writes a regular column for CCN’s monthly Mexico Report, which also appears in the Guardian. To view all previous versions of the CCN Mexico Report, go to:

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