Footing a historic bill: the most expensive election in the history of Mexico

Mexico’s 2018 General Election will most likely be the most expensive election in history, with an approved budget of MXN$ 13 billion (USD$675.3 million)
Wallet with credit cards & Mexican bills - Photo: Viviana Estrella/EL UNIVERSAL
10/01/2018
11:00
Carina García
Mexico City
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At least MXN$ 13 billion (USD$67.3 million) will flow across the entire Mexican Republic, all from public resources, according to the budget the Government has approved for local and national campaigns of the different political parties in Mexico.

Considering the magnitude of the upcoming General Election, it’s no wonder this is also the greatest amount of money ever given to political parties in the history of our country, reason why the 2018 General Election will probably be Mexico’s most expensive election.

The MXN$ 13 billion (USD$67.3 million) is only a number calculated by electoral experts. Officially, the National Electoral Institute (INE) will give MXN$ 6.7 billion (USD$348.5 million) to national political parties, pursuant to Law on ordinary and campaign expenses.

The rest – over MXN$ 6 billion (USD$348 million) – will be the resources the 32 local electoral organizations will allocate for political parties registered in each state.

Local congresses are still debating the final figure of their electoral budgets, as 30 states will also hold local elections.
 

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Resources are “excessive,” acknowledges Jesús Cantú, former councilor of the then-Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), “yet I’m convinced public financing must continue, although with other formulas.”

The 2014 electoral reform, according to Cantú, modified the way political parties are financed in the states and unified it with the Federal laws, which spiked the public resources national parties in the states are entitled to, a decision that Cantú feels needs to be “rethinked,” especially when states aren’t holding local elections.

In the meantime, the current budget allocated for the financing of political parties represents 22% more of the amount approved for the 2012 federal election.

And we cannot forget about the independent candidates running for Federal charges (President of the Republic, Federal Deputies, and Federal Senators), which will receive MXN$42. 9 million (USD$2.23 million) for their campaigns if they manage to meet the requirements for their official registration.

What about radio and television advertisement?

Radio and television spots aren’t included in the budget above since airtime isn't rated at a commercial price.

The firm Integralia Consultores, led by former president councilor of the IFE, Luis Cargos, estimated that this type of advertisement may very well spike expenditure by billions of Mexican pesos.

Moreover, both, political parties and independent candidates, have the right to send letters, postcards, and telegrams for free, yet this expense – MXN$77,055 (USD$4,000)– is already included in the budget.

The breakdown

Political institutions allocate part of the money they receive to support their daily operations and education activities, which is, in total, MXN$ 4.4 billion (USD$228.6 million). The rest goes towards Federal campaigns, that is, MXN$ 2.1 billion (USD$109.1 million).

The party with the greatest amount of votes obtained during the last federal election, the center-right Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), will be granted the highest sum, a total of MXN$689 million (USD$35.8 million), of which MXN$547.4 (USD$28.4) will be destined for campaign expenses.

* All USD amounts in the article at rate of USD$1.00 = MXN$19.22

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