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MEXICO: Presidential Elections !Mexico!Encore!

The Mexican presidential election has distinguished itself again. The PRI candidate, Francisco Labastida, had struck me as just an uninspiring machine politician. He does not have the commanding presence of President-elect Fox. Yet, interviewed on Televisa this morning, he gave a sensitive, intelligent account of the campaign, gracefully accepting defeat. I would not be surprised if Fox makes him (and possibly Zedillo!) a member of his cabinet. Perhaps that was his calculation. In any case, it was a welcome contrast with the street rioting. Moreover it was in sharp contrast with the Venezuela presidential campaign, where Chavez and his rivals have put on a sad display of grotesque demagoguery.

The Mexican elections had a peculiarity. There are supposedly some 10 million (?!) Mexicans in the U.S. who have not become citizens. They crossed into Mexico in large numbers to vote. They elected as their representative a Mexican living in Los Angeles. This would be impossible in a system like the American, where congressmen represent a geographical district. In the Mexican constitution, some deputies are elected by proportional representation, without a geographical assignment. I can think of no other case where a member of congress lives in a different country.

Ronald Hilton - 7/12/00