Less than ten years after losing control of the executive branch, and by extension, the country, the PRI won effective control of the lower house of the legislature, a broad swath of the country’s largest cities and five out of six gubernatorial races. The PRI’s electoral success automatically converted their most elected official and party leader, Enrique Peña Nieto, a front-runner in the 2012 presidential campaign. Polls demonstrated voters believed the PRI had not changed.
But they didn’t care. Millions of Mexicans felt nostalgia for the “functionality” of the old, antidemocratic regime, and still do.
As of last week, a Mitofsky poll confirmed that Peña Nieto remains comfortably in the lead. And as such is predicted to win the presidential election, returning the PRI to Los Pinos (Mexico’s White House).
But Mexico’s young people are especially incensed that victory by Enrique Peña Nieto on July 1 is often portrayed as a fait accompli. Thousands of students have poured into the streets of Mexico City for the second time in a week to protest the way the nation’s upcoming presidential election is being run and, more specifically, covered in the Mexican media. The young people taking to the streets come from a wide range of schools—public, private, leftist, rightist, and Catholic. They are decidedly anti-Peña Nieto, an unmistakable, unifying sentiment expressed by the banners and signs they carry. Nevertheless, these manifestations, like the Occupy movement erupting from Zuccotti Park, go beyond partisan politics, and represent a broader questioning of the status quo.
- From “Yo Soy 132 and the Mexican Spring,” by Unai Montes-Irueste