Jun 28, 2012

A Left-Wing Comeback in Mexico's Presidential Elections?

The Nation: In an unexpected turn of events, the eruption of a new youth movement has transformed the prospects for Mexico’s July 1 presidential elections. A month ago, the candidate from the old authoritarian Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), Enrique Peña Nieto, seemed poised to win easily by a two-digit margin and bring back the ways of the past. But after weeks of student protests against the imposition of Peña Nieto by the dominant television duopoly, as well as a series of corruption scandals that implicate the PRI, leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come back within striking distance.

Mexico’s emerging “#YoSoy132” student movement shares much with similar mobilizations throughout the world over the past year and a half, but with a distinctive electoral twist. As in Egypt, Spain and the United States, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have exploded with activity and facilitated the organization of youth marches and protests. Nevertheless, unlike the Arab Spring, the Mexican protests are not directed against the sitting president but against a presidential candidate. And unlike the Spanish uprisings, electoral politics are seen to be at the center instead of at the margins of the movement. Also, in contrast to the Occupy movement and Mexico’s long tradition of raucous protests, this time around the youth have been particularly careful not to disrupt traffic or take control of public spaces. Read more.

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