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Evaluating pre-campaigns

The positive and negatives of the past eight weeks should be evaluated so Mexico can keep moving forward in its democratic consolidation
National Electoral Institute in session – Photo: Isaac Esquivel/CUARTOSCURO
12/02/2018
08:50
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The period of pre-campaigns which concluded this Sunday should have been used, in theory, so that after this exhibition of “sympathizers and party members”, political institutions had enough arguments to select their ideal candidates for the campaign period that will begin this March 30.

However, facts show the parties had already selected their candidates and their tours and rallies across the country were akin to the first half of a soccer match, or the first round of a boxing match – time enough to assess their rivals. Although the two months of meetings, speeches, and spots where done in compliance with the law, for some experts these were a simulation.

The recently finished stage only served to expose the very little democracy within political parties, a situation which is highly contradictory, given the axis of their decisions and appointments should be the opinion of the majority. Under the guise of “unity,” the message sent to the citizenship was that their decisions were made by dominant sectors within the groups. Where are the healthy competition and the planning of different visions within political parties when appointing a presidential candidate?

This period also illustrated what we can expect from the 90 days of presidential campaigns: a smear war with more attacks than proposals, as well as the use of social networks to spread fake news about contenders.

In the 90 days of the campaign period, speeches should shift from attacks to rivals to dedicating time and effort to detail the solution to the serious issues Mexico is facing, such as insecurity, low economic growth, and poverty. Putting a stop to insults would also serve as a protection against possible acts of violence fueled by political fanaticism.

In order to conclude satisfactorily the electoral process – within the early hours of July 2, when the consolidated results of the votes are available – it will be necessary for the National Electoral Institute (INE), as organizer and teller, to act with transparency to provide certainty to the results; for the contestants, to acknowledge the final recount and accept either their victory or defeat – any irregularity during this stage should be documented and addressed before electoral authorities –, and for the citizenship, to have exercised their right to choose their rulers and then demand compliance of the campaign proposals.

In a few weeks, Mexico will be entering into the final stretch of this race to get the renewal of the Congress of the Union and the President of the Republic. The positives and negatives of the past eight weeks should be evaluated so the country can keep moving forward in consolidating its democracy.

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