On Sunday 4 July, state elections for executive and legislative offices were held in Oaxaca, as in 12 states of the Mexican Republic. In the case of Oaxaca, the coalition “United for Peace and Progress,” comprised of the PAN, PRD, PT, and Convergencia parties, defeated the PRI-Verde Ecologista alliance, winning the office of governor as well as the mayorship of the capital and the majority of representatives in the state Congress. The governor-candidate of this unusual coalition (including parties of left and right), Gabino Cué Monteagudo, beat the PRI candidate Eviel Pérez Magaña by a margin of 8 percentage points, putting an end to 80 years of PRI rule in Oaxaca. The State Electoral Institute estimated participation to have reached 56% in the elections.
Although many observers feared conflicts related to election results in Oaxaca, Pérez Magaña accepted his defeat the following day, though he stressed in his concessionary speech that the PRI continues being the most single popular party in Oaxaca, given that it received 550,000 votes in these elections, or 250,000 more than did the PAN. He emphasized the need for reconciliation between the representatives and electors of both alliances, indicating that it is “now the moment” to “contribute to the unity of the people.” Similarly, Cué Monteagudo declared last Monday that “[w]e are promoters of peace, and so we will always call for reconciliation.” The same day as his victory Monteagudo declared that “we have attained a historical dream” in defeating the PRI but also called on PRI members not to “have fear” of the new administration. This position was also adopted by the leader of the PT, Daniel Juárez, who claimed that the conflicts that were seen during the six-year term of present governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006 should be left to the past.
Some came to question that this call for reconciliation, meant to maintain the stability of the state, could mean impunity for the exiting regime. Cué has declared that the next Oaxaca government “will obey the law” and that it will “be intolerant against corruption.” He has also called for a transparency law “that will actually allow people to be sure of where it is that public resources are being spent,” but regarding the question of the exiting governor Ulises Ruiz, Cué has limited himself to stating the following: “If there is a crime that must be investigated, let it be investigated; if there is a crime for which to punish, let us punish.”
In the northwestern Triqui region of the state, which has suffered high levels of violence in recent months, there had been seeing until 4 July itself if there existed conditions for the installation of electoral booths. Rufino Juárez Hernández, director of the Union for Social Welfare of the Triqui Region (UBISORT), declared that there was a need for the Secretary of Public Security (SSP) to engage in a special operation to promote the installation of such booths in Tierra Blanca, Cerro Pájaro, and San Juan Copala. Juárez Hernández added that UBISORT members would do everything possible to ensure that Triqui citizens be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Before the elections the SSP indicated that the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copalá represented a “red alert” in electoral terms. To date authorities of the municipality have not expressed their views on the election results other than to denounce in general terms the “electoral apparatus” for having given birth to “despicable authorities like Ulises Ruiz Ortiz” and others.
For his part, Felipe Calderón received the election results gratefully, asserting that “[t]hat of last Sunday was a vote for the institutions; it was a vote for legality; it was a vote for democracy; it was a vote for peace.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Electoral participation reaches 56%: IEE (El Imparcial, 5 July)
Opposition coalition wins majority in Oaxaca Congress (La Jornada, 5 July)
Leading with 8.35 points, Cué removes PRI from Oaxaca after 80 years (La Jornada, 6 July)
I accept the will of Oaxacans: Eviel Pérez after conceding defeat (La Jornada, 6 July)
Cué calls for reconciliation in Oaxaca (El Universal, 5 July)
PAN, PRD, PT y PCD call for reconciliación (El Imparcial, 5 July)
Oaxaca: If Ulises committed crimes, we will go for him: Cué (El Universal, 6 July)
Calderón: the elections constituted a message of the rejection of violence (La Jornada, 6 July)
If there is security we will install election-booths: UBISORT leader (Diario Despertar, 3 July)
UBISORT will look into installation of election-booths for 4 July (Diario Despertar, 25 June)
Authorities identify ’20 red alerts’ before Oaxaca elections (La Jornada, 3 July)