Sunday, July 4, 2010

Elections in Chihuahua Today: Duarte Expected to Win Governorship

Twelve governors will be elected throughout Mexico today, including in Chihuahua. In addition mayors in all 1375 municipalities will be elected, including Juárez, and 426 municipal councilors.

In Chihuahua César Duarte, former President of the Chamber of Deputies (equivalent to House of Representatives in the U.S.) in Mexico, is expected to be elected governor, for a coalition of parties including the PRI and three of the so-called "midget" parties, the Worker's Party (PT), the Green Party (PVEM), and the Panal. Carlos Borruel, former mayor of Chihuahua, is running for governor in the PAN party, and Luis Orozco is running for governor on the PRD ticket.

In Cd. Juárez Héctor Agustín Murguía Lardizábal is running for mayor on the PRI ticket, and is expected to win. He was mayor from 2004-2007 and is the first mayor of Juarez ever to seek re-election. Murguia wanted to be the PRI candidate for governor, but was vetoed for the nomination, it is said, in part because of his reputed association with organized crime during his last administration. He maintained close ties, for example, to his chief of police, Saulo Reyes Gamboa, now serving time in the U.S. for drug trafficking. He is also criticized for being close to wealthy businessman Eloy Vallina, who made some early movidas with Bill Richardson on behalf of the Verde Group on the New Mexico side. Richardson is not well liked, by the way, by elites in Cd. Juarez, in great part because these movidas were at the expense of other interests in Juarez.

The current mayor is also a member of the PRI party. Running on the PAN party ticket is Cesar Jáuregui, a relative newcomer to Juarez politics; for the PRD ticket is Victor Reyes; for the PT is Victor Parra, and for the Convergencia, Lluvia Luna.

Why Are PRI Candidates Ahead in Chihuahua?

To understand a fundamental dynamic in the elections of today for governor it is important to remember just how unpopular President Felipe Calderon of the PAN is today in all of Chihuahua, in great part due to the obvious failure of Joint Operation Chihuahua, later named to Coordinated Operation Chihuahua. Far from lowering homicide, kindapping, and other types of crime, just about all categories of crime have increased dramatically since the armed forces began to supplement municipal police two and a half years ago. Duarte and Murguia both began their campaings with the advantage that they are NOT in the PAN party. Should they both win elections it will be due more to this factor than to their superiority as candidates. During the three visits President Calderon made so far this year to Juarez he has been the object of a great deal of criticism, including insults to his face. At one function in Juarez, the President arrived slightly late and said, "I'm sorry, I'm running a little late." The man who was introducing him replied, "Late? yes, about three years." There are other reasons the PAN is not likely to win these elections (Panistas in important party positions are not always the most respected party leaders) but local dislike for the President is probably the strongest.

Kidnappings: There has been some violence associated with the elections. The son of a PAN candidate for governor, Pablo Cuaron Galindo, was kidnapped just hours before Cuaron, after failing to become the PAN candidate for governor, was expected to register as a candidate for mayor. And just a few days ago, on June 27, the brother of the PRI candidate for the mayorship of Praxedis. G. Guerrero (a village in the Valle de Juárez, was kidnapped.


Anonymous said...

Will the State of NM have a better trade relationship with Duarte as Gov.

Jose Z. Garcia said...

Probably, depending on what the relationship of the new governor of New Mexico might be with Chihuahua. After flirting around in Chihuahua on behalf of the Verde Group for a couple of years (in ways that damaged the PAN in Cd. Juarez and left a strong distaste for him there), Richardson lost interest in relations with Chihuahua and virtually nothing has happened for five years, in spite of fully funding the Border Authority and Office of Mexican Affairs.

Anonymous said...

What do the Border Authority and Office of Mexican Affairs do to help the state of NM. I hope its not another shell group set up by Richardson with high paid staffers.

Jose Z. Garcia said...

There are some very capable people in these two offices, and they keep track of what is happening throughout the border region, on both sides, in the way of economic development, information that the state needs to know and make available to the public. But frankly they don't really have a full agenda that would justify all of the funds appropriated for them. This is not their fault. In state government typically leadership comes from the top down and the governor has never delegated an ounce of leadership downward, much less to the people of the border region.

Anonymous said...

Richardson has been the best Governor this state has ever had. His vision and his ability to get great projects like the Spaceport to happen will help NM for many years to come.