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The Baja California state legislature voted unanimously on Thursday to synchronize state and local elections with federal ones. The 24-0 vote will save the state money. The legislators also approved re-election of legislators, mayors and council members.
Federal elections are held every three years; the next federal congressional election is 2015 and the next presidential election is in 2018. Thursday's 24-0 vote decided that the governor, state legislators, mayors, and council members who are elected in 2019 will serve only two years in office. The governor normally serves a six-year term, and the legislators, mayors and council members three years.
Institutional Revolutionary Party politician Fernando Castro Trenti previous to the 2012 presidential election had sought to have state elections synchronized with federal ones that year, with the idea that he would win the PRI gubernatorial nomination and win the gubernatorial election on Enrique Peña Nieto's coattails. That synchronization did not happen, however, to Castro Trenti's chagrin; Peña Nieto took the state and the PRI won all but one state direct Chamber of Deputies election at stake in 2012. While Castro Trenti won the PRI's 2013 nomination for governor, he lost the election a year ago to Francisco Vega of the National Action Party. Castro Trenti is now Mexico's ambassador to Argentina.
Legislators decided not to have the governor's election synchronized with the presidential election, making it more likely for a governor to be elected more on his or her terms, or more on state issues, not federal ones.
As part of the synchronization process, state legislators, mayors, and council members elected in 2016 will serve only two years and 10 months rather than two years.
The state legislators also voted to approve the re-election of legislators, mayors, and council members allowed under the recent federal election reform. Governors and the president, however, cannot be re-elected.
Update, July 12: The head of the Business Coordination Council (Consejo Coordinador Empresarial, or CCE), Juan Manuel Hernández Niebla, says the state electoral reform does not go far enough, as it does not provide for recall elections (revocación del mandato), and for eliminating from the legislature at-large deputies who basically get their posts because they are at the top of parties' lists. That proposal might have reduced the number of state legislators from 25 to 21. Story, El Mexicano.
Update, July 14: PAN legislator Cuauhtémoc Cardona says the legislature may take up redistricting in August to try to reduce the number of legislators to 21, which he said could save 100 million pesos ($7.7 million). Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
2018 presidential election: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who left the Democratic Revolution Party to form the Morena Party, said he will run for president for a third time in 2018. The party becomes an official one on Aug. 1.
Story, Frontera (PDF). Column, Jorge Fernández Menéndez.
2015 federal Congress election: Former President Felipe Calderón's wife, Margarita Zavala, says she plans to run for Congress in 2015. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Frontera political page: Frontera says state PRI leader Nancy Sánchez Arredondo of Mexicali wants to be assured a seat in the federal Chamber of Deputies being elected in 2015 by being put at the top of the PRI's at-large list, and that this has disconcerted some PRIistas. Sánchez previously filled out the last year of former Deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz in the federal Congress.