A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vote buying is penalized by fining of parties, not by annulment of election, columnist says; recount confirms Peña Nieto victory

Columnist Sergio Sarmiento writes that however prevalent vote buying was in Sunday's election, electoral law calls for it to be punished by fining of parties, and not for an annulment of the election, as the nation's leftist coalition would like.

Although there have been widespread reports of vote buying, it is not clear that it would amount to 3 million votes, the difference between Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party coalition. López Obrador's campaign manager, Richardo Monreal, said vote buying amounted to 5 million votes, but presented no proof of such a figure.

A recount of half the nation's ballots actually resulted in a larger lead for the PRI candidate.

Columnist Leo Zuckermann pointed out that because Mexico's new electoral law required broadcasters to provide parties airtime for free, the parties had a lot more money at their disposal to buy gifts for voters. He cited an Alianza Civica report that said 28.4% of citizens who were surveyed were exposed to at least one incident of vote buying or vote coercion. It said the PRI was involved in 71% of cases, the PAN in 17%, the PRD in 9% and New Alliance 3%. Zuckermann suggests changes in electoral law to combat vote buying next time.

Sarmiento's column (PDF).
Update, July 12: Sarmiento addresses the issue again (PDF).

Vote-buying story in Frontera (PDF). Zuckermann's column (PDF).
Previous mention of Soriana card vote-buying controversy.

Update, July 9: López Obrador's coalition says PRI exceeded federal spending limits by a factor of six, but presents no proof. Story in Frontera (PDF).

Update, July 10: Journalist Eduardo Huchim outlines how an election can be annulled (PDF).
                         President Calderón laments vote buying; López Obrador says PRI gained                          5 million votes through irregularities (PDF).