Mexico To Follow Leftist Latin Trend?
by Chris Bowers, Sun Jun 25, 2006 at 05:12:46 PM EDT
For the first time in modern history, the once dominant PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, is running a distant third and appears to have little chance of recapturing the presidency.
Opinion surveys released Friday -- the last day political polls legally could be published here ahead of next Sunday's balloting -- showed a statistical dead heat between leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador and conservative Felipe Calderón.
The Reforma and Universal newspapers, perhaps the capital's most influential, each gave López Obrador 36 percent to Calderón's 34 percent, with the PRI's Roberto Madrazo getting just a quarter of the vote.
Averaging 14 major polls conducted in June, political analyst Rafael Gimenez Valdés calculated that just a half percentage point separates the top two candidates. ``I think the election is absolutely up in the air,'' Gimenez Valdés said.
Other analysts, including María de Las Heras, who projected President Vicente Fox's upset victory in 2000, give the edge to López Obrador. At a gathering of pollsters Friday at the Colegio de Mexico here, de las Heras predicted López Obrador would win by five points, in part because he has racked up a significant surplus of independent voters.
Only a few more big rallies are planned: By law, all campaigning and advertising must cease after Wednesday. Calderon's final rally is scheduled for today at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. López Obrador's final event is Wednesday in Mexico City's main square, the Zócalo. In Latin America, a wholesale rejection of both neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism appears to be under way (again, pun intended). As more and more governments in Latin America turn to the left, it is becoming possible to envision an entirely different direction for the region, one where, among other things, the United States has significantly less economic influence. That this has taken place under the watch of an administration filled with people determined to create "a new American century," goes to show exactly what the Bush administration has really done to the reputation of America in other counties. That voters are rejecting neo-liberal trade policies that we were all told would lift Latin America out of poverty I think goes to show that those policies did not benefit the majority of people in Latin America after all.
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