If you are reading this, there is a pretty high probability that you know Mexico has elections today for President, Deputies, and Senators. There seems to be no doubt that the formerly hegemonic PRI, which last ruled Mexico in 2000, will win. The question is, how big?
The presidency is elected by plurality, and so a voting result in the low/mid-40s will be good enough–as it was for Vicente Fox of the PAN in 2000. (The incumbent, Felipe Calderon, also of the PAN, won in 2006 with only around 36%.)
The Chamber of Deputies is elected by MMM. There are 300 single-seat districts elected by plurality, and 200 list seats determined by nationwide proportionality.1 These seats are elected in parallel. That means that a party’s proportional share of the 200 is added to however many district seats it has won, with a partial exception to be addressed below. The votes cast for single-seat candidates are summed up to determine shares for list allocation, as there is no separate list vote.
In the Senate, there are three members elected from each state, and another 32 elected nationwide; again, the nationwide seats are in parallel and without a separate vote. In each state a party presents a (closed) list of two candidates. The plurality earns two, and the second party wins one.
The President and Senators are elected for six-year terms, the Deputies for three years. No one at any level can serve consecutive terms.
Will the incoming PRI president–assuming no huge surprise when the results come in–have a majority in either or both houses?
In the most recent Deputies election, in 2009, the PRI won just short of a majority: 237 seats (47.4%) on only 36.9% of the votes. The PRI was in pre-election (pri-election?) coalition with the Green Party (PVEM), and this combine actually did win a majority: 258 seats on 43.6% of the votes.
The 2009 result shows clearly that the system is MMM (parallel), not not MMP (compensatory) as some sources claim. A near-majority of seats for one party that wins less than 37% of the vote is pretty non-proportional! The one way in which the system is not purely parallel is that it includes caps on over-representation. No party may win more than 60% of the seats, or more consequentially, a seat percentage that is more than eight percentage points greater than its vote percentage.
It seems (though I am not sure) from the 2009 result that this provision is applied to a pre-election coalition, and not to such an alliance’s parties individually (–UPDATE–see Manuel’s comment–): the PRI’s own over-representation was more than 10 points. What matters, apparently, is the alliance, which was almost precisely at eight percentage points over-representation. Together in the nominal (plurality) tier the parties won 188 seats (184 PRI, 4 PVEM), which is 62.67% of the districts. (Oh, doesn’t plurality produce big distortions when there are three major national parties!) The parties’ combined votes, as noted, were 43.6%. However, there is a 2% threshold, so what really matters for the proportional-list seats is the “effective vote”: when below-threshold parties’ votes are removed, the two parties had 46.73%. That would earn them around 93 of the 200 list seats. This would get them to 281 seats. So, if my calculations are correct, the cap was triggered in 2009.2
Will the cap be triggered in 2012? If so, will it affect the PRI’s chances of winning a majority? I would think it is likely to get a majority, as unless there is a great deal of ticket-splitting, the PRI should win over 42% of the vote. Winning 42% does not guarantee a majority of seats, but makes it likely. The party would have to win a sufficient number of district seats–about 167–to ensure the majority. However, even a small increase in the votes for the largest party should result in an even greater swing of seats in the PRI’s favor than the very large swing we saw in 2009 (when the PRI alone won 184). On the other hand, winning less than 42% of the vote makes a majority impossible–not counting votes and seats of alliance partners.3
Conclusion on Chamber of Deputies: A majority for the PRI looks likely.
As for the Senate, a majority depends on winning the votes plurality in many states, as well as a large enough share of the total nationwide votes. Given that the PRI currently governs about two thirds of the states, it obviously has the regional spread to pull this off.
Bottom line: a two-house majority for the new PRI president, Enrique Pena Nieto, looks likely, but not a sure thing.
Now, does this mean a restoration of the “old” PRI? Probably not, as the internal lines of authority in the party have changed, probably irrevocably. But that is a topic for another day…
Some sources mention regional districts in the PR tier. That is true, but only on the intra-party dimension: these districts, and the separate list each party presents in each district, matter only in determining which candidates take the list seats a party has won. They do not affect the total balance of seats among parties, which depends on the parties’ nationwide total votes. [↩]
I have said previously that it was not triggered at an election after 1997. Perhaps that was incorrect. The rest of this footnote is geared even more for anoraks than the main entry.
Maybe I am wrong here, rather than in my previous comments about the cap. That is, maybe the cap on over-representation is applied to individual parties, but is triggered only by comparing seat percentages with effective votes. If that is the case, the PRI, alone, did not trigger it, as it had 39.5% of the effective vote, and its total seat percentage won was then less than 8 points greater.
Update: it is clear now that I misinterpreted the rule. (In my defense, the linked story presents the matter less than clearly.) See the comments for clarification.
Mexico votes Sunday for president and all members of both chambers of the federal congress.
The Chamber of Deputies election has an interesting ballot format. The Deputies are elected by a Mixed-Member Majoritarian system (with caps–more below–but it is not MMP). Unlike most mixed-member systems, the voter has only one vote. The vote for a candidate in any given single-seat district also counts for the party list; that is, there is no separate list vote.
Candidates are sometimes nominated by pre-electoral coalitions. However, the parties keep their separate ballot identities. A vote is valid even if the voter marks the ballot for two or more parties in coalition. However, such a vote would count only for the candidate, and not for any of the parties’ list. This is an unusual provision, and I am not aware offhand of anything similar elsewhere. (See earlier thread, and comment by Manuel, in which this feature was mentioned.)
Mexico is one of few* countries to prohibit legislators from serving consecutive terms. This past week, President Felipe Calderon announced that he will propose that legislators be permitted to seek reelection.
Quick reaction #1: good idea, as it would give the 300 members elected from single-seat districts (200 others are elected via closed-list PR) the incentive to actually represent the electorate of their districts, rather than immediately upon election seek to curry favor with whoever may offer them their next job.
Quick reaction #2: good luck passing it. The PRI, which is currently just short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, is unlikely to agree to a reform that would restrict the authority of party leaders (who tend to offer members that next job referred to in quick reaction #1). Even if the party wins back the presidency,** we are unlikely to see the degree of centralization and presidentialization of the halcyon days of PRI hegemony. However, in opposition, the PRI has become a “gubernatorialized” party, and the governors presumably would stand to lose much influence if legislators could seek longer tenure in congress.
* One of only two? (Costa Rica is the other one I know of.)
** Conventional wisdom seems to be that the party is a shoo-in for 2012. I am not so sure. That the party can do so well in midterm congressional elections when it is in opposition (such as in July 2009), and in gubernatorial elections (it governs almost two thirds of the states), says less than meets the eye about its prospects of finding a single candidate who can unite the party and appeal broadly enough win the presidency. Much will depend on whether the PAN finds a popular enough candidate to appeal beyond its narrow base and whether the PRD can pull itself together enough to appeal to the more leftist elements of the PRI constituency. (Mexican presidents are elected by nationwide plurality, and Calderon himself won about 36% in 2006 and defeated then-PRD candidate Lopez Obrador by the narrowest of margins.)
Beneath this morning’s Mexico planting, Ed, and later Manuel, have provided preliminary seat counts. If the results hold, the PRI and Greens together may have a majority.
They ran in a partial pre-electoral coalition: joint candidates in 63 districts, but separate lists (and candidates elsewhere).
The coalition apparently has won in 50 districts, which is impressive.
Also noteworthy is that the Mexican Green Party, at 6.5% of the votes in this election, would suddenly find itself among the largest Green parties in the world. I did not see that coming. (I will leave it to others to decide whether a Green alliance with a party like the PRI is anything to celebrate.)
What I am unsure of is the extent to which the PRI and Greens have been cooperating in congress and whether they have anything like a commitment to cooperate in the upcoming congress. If they do, then I would be inclined to put this election into the relatively rare category of those in (pure) presidential systems that produce divided government.
See the comments for some updates on the preliminary seat totals.
According to preliminary results, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has won the most votes and seats in the midterm Chamber of Deputies election.
Turnout was around 45%, which is higher than at the last (2003) midterm election, despite a “null vote” protest movement. (Null votes themselves were about 5% of total votes cast, which was barely any larger than in 2003.)
This is the firstsecond time in Mexico that a party other than that of the President will have the plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. (Thanks to Manuel, below, for the correction.)
The PRI has not won enough votes to qualify for a majority of seats, as Mexican electoral law prohibits a party from having more than an 8-percentage point over-representation. The PRI has a preliminary total of 36.2% of the vote.
Thus it will not be divided government in the narrow sense of majority opposition, unless the PRI and other parties cooperate after the election to control the Chamber in opposition to the President. That is possible, but I would think unlikely.
The National Action Party (PAN) of current President Felipe Calderon is a distant second, at 28.0%. At about 5 percentage points, this is not much of a midterm decline for the incumbent party, and it is about 3 percentage points worse than its 2003 votes result. However, given the large boost the electoral system and three-way competition in the single-seat-district tier gave the party in 2006 (when it won about 41% of seats), it will likely have suffered a bigger decline in seats.
The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) did quite badly, with only 12.2%, or barely more than a third of the votes that it won in 2006 when it narrowly lost the presidency.
The Green Party, which is an ally of the PRI, has 6.5%. These two parties had a partial pre-electoral coalition, running jointly nominated candidates in 63 of the 300 single-seat districts, but separate party lists for the “parallel” tier of 200 proportional list seats (as well as, of course, separate candidates in the other 237 single-seat districts). While seats totals are not yet reported (as far as I know), it is unlikely that these two parties would have a joint majority, despite 43% of the votes, as the Greens presumably have won no single-seat districts (outside of coalition districts, where they might have helped the PRI fend off another party’s candidate). I wonder if there will prove to have been districts where the PRI and Greens running separately might have “spoiled” a chance at a PRI win. Perhaps the parties’ pre-electoral strategy was sufficiently targeted to have avoided such an outcome.
The electoral law, and changes made in 2008 (see explanation by Manuel in the previous thread), permit parties to have their separate ballot symbols in districts where they have a joint candidacy. Because there is no separate vote for the list tier, this is important to parties in a coalition: they can still collect their separate PR seats despite the common candidacies. However, any pre-electoral coalition is bound to lose some votes for one of the parties from voters who dislike the partner (or its candidate in the district). Presumably this is why the parties ran separate candidates in the vast majority of districts.
The smaller Workers Party (PT), however, ran a coalition in all 300 districts with the Convergencia. And here I need some more help on how the new electoral law works. These two parties are shown having 3.6% (PT) and 2.4% (Convergencia) for their separate ballot symbols and 0.2% for the coalition, per se. So do voters have the choice of endorsing the coalition as a whole or choosing one of the component parties? Obviously any of these options would be a vote for the candidate in the given district, but how are list votes calculated in the case of voting for the coalition? (For the record, the PRI-Green coalition obtained 0.4% in addition to the separate votes by party reported above). (Again, Manuel to the rescue in the comments!)
Despite all the talk of a “comeback” by the PRI, this result is roughly the same as its performance in the last midterm election, 2003. Maybe 35-38% is just the party’s “natural” level of support in Mexico’s new democratic era. Of course, it does look like a comeback from its dismal third-place showing in 2006, but even then its congressional vote was only about eight percentage points worse than its showing in the current election. That is well within normal election-to-election variation in democracies–especially in presidential systems, where every legislative election takes place in the context of voter evaluations of the parties’ presidential candidates, or of the incumbent president. In the concurrent election of 2006, the PRI suffered defections due to an unusually strong PRD presidential candidate who was the main challenger to the PAN. The PRI also had an extremely weak candidate of its own in 2006: Roberto Madrazo, one of the ultimate “PRIosaurs.”
The PRI thus remains about where it has been since 2000: the pivot party in congress, with a strong regional base (having won most of the governor races in recent years including apparently four of the six up yesterday). Yet it remains a party that will need a very good candidate in 2012 if it is to reach the 40% range that will likely be needed to win back the presidency if the PRD does not make it another strong showing three-way race.
Will Mexico’s midterm elections on 5 July result in divided government? If so, it would be a first in many decades–probably first ever–for Mexico.
For the record, it is important to note that I define “divided government” as a situation in which the legislative majority (at least one chamber) is controlled by a single party or alliance of parties that is opposed to the president. This is a stricter and narrower definition than many others use: it is common to see reference to “divided government” whenever the president’s own party does not control a majority. However, simple cases of no-majority situations are a mixed bag: in some, the president may have effective control over the legislative agenda through alliances (formalized or not) with other parties. Or the president’s party may be sufficiently dominant that the president enjoys something very nearly approaching “unified” government, the absence of a majority notwithstanding. In still other cases, there may be bill-by-bill negotiations between the president’s party and others parties (or individual legislators) to achieve majorities. None of these quite matches the image conjured up by the idea of “divided government,” which implies that the institutions of governance are divided from one another in their partisan preferences. While some cases of no-majority may qualify, it is likely that many (probably most) do not.
In addition, a situation in which no party has a majority is actually the norm in most presidential systems–including Mexico in the past 12 years. If the concept of “divided government” it is to be useful for setting off specific situations from a presumed norm, then we might not find very useful a conception in which presidentialism is “divided” most of the time.
So, will Mexico have divided government after these elections? That is, will one party, other than that of the president, win a majority of seats? It is possible, but hard (for me, anyway) to say just now likely.
In Mexico’s bicameral congress, only the Chamber of Deputies is up for election Sunday. The Chamber is fully renewed every three years, concurrent with the presidential election every six years, and again three years later at each president’s midterm. (The Senate elections are entirely concurrent with the presidential; no party currently has a majority in that body, either.)
The former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is expected to do well. No party has had a majority in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies since the the PRI lost its decades-long control in 1997, the same year in which the current electoral system was used for the first time.
Mexico uses a quite majoritarian version of a mixed-member system (not MMP, as sometimes erroneously said in some sources–see my previous discussion for why). There is a cap on just how majoritarian an outcome can be: no party may obtain more than 60% of the seats (which would, in any case be unlikely) and, more importantly, no party may have a percentage of seats that is more than eight percentage points greater than its votes percentage. Thus the PRI would have to win just over 42% of the vote to have full control of the Chamber. Winning this percentage would not guarantee a majority; rather, winning less than 42% would guarantee no party would have a majority.
Could the PRI win 42% of the vote? I do not have time to look at any actual polling. But who needs polls? Let’s look at trends and see what would be necessary for the PRI to pull this off!
To win 42% of the vote, it would need a 14-percentage-point improvement on its 28.4% showing in 2006. A tall order, but not impossible. In that election, current President Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party (PAN) won only 36.7% of the vote, and his party ran slightly behind that, at 34.6% (which was good for 41.2% of the seats, given the mixed-member majoritarian system). The Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), whose candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, narrowly lost to Calderon with 36.1%, won 29% of the Deputies vote in 2006.
The most relevant comparison for 2009 would be the 2000-03 cycle, the last time a PAN president faced a midterm election. Here are the votes for the three parties in 2003, compared to 2000:
(Data from 1994-2003 are from the Nohlen, et al, handbook.)
It has been a long time since the PRI has seen 40% of the vote–in fact, not since 1994. So the answer to the question about divided government depends largely on where we think the PRI’s “natural” level of support lies. If its natural level in legislative elections, when it lacks any presidential-candidate coattails (which can be negative or positive) is reflected in its 39% share in 2003, it has a good base on which to build. And then it needs only a few percentage points more to make it to majority-possibility territory.
A lot also depends on how much the PRD has fallen since what was likely the highest share it will see again for many years in 2006. It is unlikely that many of its voters in 2006 have subsequently moved in the direction of the PAN.
The PAN actually may not lose many votes. It certainly will not lose 6.5 points, as it did in 2003, when it was coming off an “unnaturally” high share at the election of the first non-PRI president in 2000. It managed to retain the presidency with barely over a third of the vote in 2006, or not much beyond its “core” electorate. That is, smaller surge, smaller decline. So if we figure 30-33 percent for the PAN, the main question is how much of the remainder goes to the PRI, rather than is split between the PRI and PRD.
I think the implication is that 42% of the vote for the PRI is within reach, but far from assured. And then there is the question of whether the PRI could get the majoritarian boost it would need to get more than half the seats, even if it cleared 42% of the vote. Here, the prospect depends on how many districts there are in which an increase in its votes is sufficient to place it ahead where a PAN (or PRD) candidate won the plurality in 2006.
There is also a “null vote” protest movement. I have no idea how successful that could be, or which party would gain if many voters heeded it. Turnout is also a factor: in 2000, 63.2% voted and in 2003 only 41.1%. In 2006, turnout was back to nearly 2000 levels (58.5%), so we might expect the turnout to be again near 40%, or perhaps lower. But, as with the null-vote movement, I can’t say how that would help (or hurt) the PRI. (The turnout decline in 2003 obviously did not hurt.)
Divided government is most certainly possible. But the PRI will have to have everything go its way.
In the state elections, the PRD held on to the state’s governorship, but with not even one third of the votes. Leonel Godoy Rangel had 33.1%, beating the candidate of the National Action Party (PAN, the party of President Felipe CalderÃ³n). The PAN candidate, Salvador Lopez OrduÃ±a, had 30.5%.1 The candidate of the PRI won 24%. In addition to the PRD, Godoy was backed by the smaller PT, Convergencia, and Alternativa parties.
From a preliminary count of the elections for state deputies (for the unicameral legislative assembly), it appears the PRD-PT alliance won about 31.9% of the vote to 29.2% for the PRI and 27.5% for the PAN.2 Assuming those results are correct, note that the order of finish for the second and third parties was reversed between the two elections. The obvious conclusion would be that some PRI voters favored the PAN gubernatorial candidate in an effort to block Godoy. Similar tactical voting (on a much larger scale) by PRI voters probably prevented AMLO from winning the presidency in 2006.
Despite the “juxtaposed government” of PAN at the center and PRD in the state,3 and despite AMLO’s continuing refusal to accept the PAN national victory, Governor-elect Godoy promises that his relations with the President will be “cordial.” He further says:
Nosotros no podemos adoptar actitudes suicidas, de no tener una relaciÃ³n de plena colaboraciÃ³n ante tal dependencia del Gobierno federal.
Indeed, it would be “suicidal” to adopt a confrontational attitude, given that 96% of the state’s revenues come from federal transfers.4
Normally, like the federal executive, a state governor in Mexico serves a six-year term. However, Godoy’s term will be four years, following a state constitutional change. Reforma says the change is meant to synchronize state and federal elections in the future. How far in the future? The next federal elections will be in 2009 (lower house of congress) and after that, 2012 (presidency and both federal chambers). So, only if this governor and his successor are elected for four-year terms will elections be synchronized–in the federal midterm election of 2015 (presumably again for a six-year term). It seems if synchronization is the goal, a clever and mathematically inclined political engineer might have come up with another way (e.g. elect this governor for five years, and then have state and federal elections in 2012).
OrduÃ±a has been the mayor of the capital, Morelia, for the past three years. (The PRD also won that city’s mayoralty on 11 November.) [↩]
I do not know the electoral system of Michoacan. All Mexican states have variants of the national single-vote MMM system, though some lean more towards MMP. There are 24 single-seat districts, and it appears that 12 of them were won by the PRD-PT, while the PAN won 8 and the PRI 4. There would also be some number of PR-list seats, but I do not know how many or how they are allocated. As long as they are not highly compensatory–i.e. that the system is not MMP–the PRD-PT will be substantially over-represented in the legislature–perhaps around 40% of the seats. The legislature’s website was not working when I tried to check on its size or electoral system. On the Google search page, there was a page within the legislature’s site indicated as being about an Acuerdo de Reforma Electoral. [↩]
I owe the term, juxtaposed government, to Alain De Remes. [↩]
According to an article in the 12 November edition of Reforma by AdÃ¡n GarcÃa, Denis RodrÃguez y Daniel Pensamiento, which was also the source of the quote from Godoy. (Via Lexis Nexis.) [↩]
This time, the partisan tables are turned. Unlike the narrow, disputed presidential contest, the PRD is the incumbent party in the state of Chiapas. The PRD’s candidate, Juan Sabines Guerrero, is holding a razor-thin lead over Jose Antonio Aguilar Bodegas, the candidate of the PRI, with PAN tactical support, in Sunday’s gubernatorial election.
According to the Instituto Electoral Estatal (you must go to their website and see the silly graphics!), as of the time of this planting, the PREP shows the PRD candidate ahead by 0.22 percentage points, or 2,405 votes.
The bar on the left (albeit not ideologically) represents the PAN candidate, registered before the party opted to back the PRI candidate in attempt to oust the PRD from the governorship. The PRD candidate, Sabines, defected from the PRI only in recent months and is the son of a former governor. As George Grayson notes in the just-linked El Universal English story from 18 August, Chiapas has been the scene of some interesting shifting party alliances:
In the spring, he was eager to support a PRI nominee, and he and party envoy TomÃ¡s Yarrington agreed that Sabines would be the ideal choice. [National PRI leader and presidential candidate Roberto] Madrazo initially gave the thumbs up to Sabines on ly to infuriate local leaders by shifting to Aguilar.
Thatâ€™s ancient history. Sundayâ€™s gubernatorial election represents a continuation of the July 2 presidential conflict. Last weekend, LÃ³pez Obrador left the encampments of Mexico City to barnstorm on behalf of Sabines.
The need for the PAN’s Felipe CalderÃ³n–the apparent narrow victor in the national presidential election–to develop a good relationship with the PRI for “governability” reasons is behind the PAN’s throwing its support to Aguilar in Chiapas. Grayson again:
To propitiate PRI legislators, CalderÃ³nâ€™s PAN â€” in a move spearheaded by teachers union boss and Chiapanecan Elba Esther Gordillo â€” has extended a helping hand to the PRI. Specifically, they have convinced the gubernatorial aspirants of the PAN (Francisco Rojas) and the Gordillo-controlled Panal (Emilio ZebadÃºa â€” Gov. Salazarâ€™s former government secretary and a strong PRD pre-candidate) to step aside in favor of Aguilar Bodegas, who already enjoyed the endorsement of the PVEM [Green Party].
The graph below was prepared by frequent F&V propagator Rici Lake. It shows the dispersion of votes among the three main presidential candidates in Mexico’s 2006 election, at the level of the polling place.
From Rici’s correspondence with me, here is a quick quide to interpretation:
I only used the votes for the three main parties, so all points are normalized to add up to 1; they can then be placed on an equilateral triangle where each component is the distance from the point to one side of the triangle. I plotted every acta (taking the data from the official IFE results, which still have a few errors in them, but not enough to alter the results significantly), weighting the acta by the size of the corresponding casilla. Each plotted point represents the sum of the weights of the corresponding actas, normalised so that the 99 percentile point is solid black.
As you can see, the main plot essentially has four modal points (or clouds), one at about <55, 27, 27> (PAN, APM, PBT); one at about <30,17, 50>; one at around <20, 7, 73> and a faint one (at the bottom) at around <5, 37, 58>. Arguably, the first and second clouds show three-party contention, although it is clearer in the first cloud. The third cloud is PRD vs. PAN with PRD in the strong majority (possibly showing PRI->PAN strategic voting?) and the fourth cloud is mostly Tabasco.
This is clearer if you look at the dispersion maps per state. For example, you can see very clear two-party races (everything clusters to one side of the triangle) in Chihuahua, DF, Mexico state, Nuevo LeÃ³n and Tabasco.
For the images mentioned in the last paragraph, go to the PDF, linked above.
I just came across a really interesting analysis by Jeronimo Cortina and Andrew Gelman of income and voting choice in Mexico. In a paper (which I skimmed, but will read later), the key graph of which is posted at the blog, Statistical Modelling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, Cortina and Gelman analyze the relationship between income and the vote in each state and the DF.
The key finding, from the 2000 presidential election, is that:
The slopes are higher–that is, income is a stronger predictor of the vote–in poor states.
This is similar to a relationship found in the USA by Gelman, et al.:
One difference between the two countries is that in the U.S., the conservative party does better in the poor states, but in Mexico, the conservative party does better in the rich states. But at the level of individual voting, the patterns in the two countries seems similar.
In carrying out their analysis, the authors use a left-right scale that places the PRD at the left, PRI in what they call the “blurry center,” and PAN at the right. Nothing at all wrong with that ideological description, but is this the expected relationship of income level to the vote? I would think not: the poorest Mexicans probably have the strongest tendency to vote PRI, with the PRD strongest in the lower-middle classes (at least in 2006). In fact, the paper contains a set of graphs of the percent vote per state, arrayed by state income. The PRD shows hardly any relationship, while there is a negative relationship for the PRI (and the unsurprising rise for the PAN). I should emphasize that the paper (and the graph at the blog) analyzes individual data in each state (in a multilevel model); whether the ordering of the parties under the assumption of poor–>PRD/ middle–>PRI/ wealthy–>PAN matters to their results is not clear to me (at least until such time as I have actually read the entire paper).
Cortina and Gelman note that they hope to replicate their study when (if!) 2006 exit-poll data are made public. Believe me, they are not the only ones waiting to get their hands on those data!
The Tribunal’s order calls for the re-opening of ballots boxes from 11,839 polling places (about 9% of the total) where arithmetic errors have been found in the count reports filed with the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) on election night.
See also the LA Times story, which includes some discussion of the background of election procedures in Mexico. For example:
Recounts must be based on evidence specific to a poll station, said Justice Alfonsina Navarro, not broad suspicion.
Chief Magistrate Leonel Castillo, arguing against a full recount, said Mexicans had already counted the vote in a system that gives ordinary citizens the job of running the national election.
Mexican polling stations are operated by trained volunteers, and the votes are counted in front of political party representatives before the results are marked on tally sheets and the ballot boxes sealed.
“They are citizens â€” not permanent members of state institutions â€” who are chosen randomly among their own neighbors to count the votes,” Castillo said during a nationally televised broadcast of Saturday’s session. “They verify, instant by instant, step by step, moment by moment. They’re the witnesses.”
The partial recount will start Wednesday and last about five days. If substantial discrepancies are found, then the Tribunal will have to make a further decision as to whether to allow a more complete recount or annul the election. If the partial recount does not turn up serious errors in this sample, then the Tribunal will certify the election, which it must do by 6 September in order for the apparent victory of Felipe CalderÃ³n to be official.
Mexico Watch reports on political and economic developments in that country for business investors and others with an interest in Mexico. The most recent issue includes an interview [PDF; begins on page 3] with your Orchardist about the election. With the permission of the publisher, F&V is able to present some excerpts:
Mexico Watch: Given the experience of other presidential democracies in Latin America, and the specifics of the Mexican system, how viable is CalderÃ³nâ€™s pledge to form a â€œcoalitionâ€ government? What forms could this take and what institutional barriers might impede it?
Matthew Shugart: My answers assume a CalderÃ³n presidency, but of course that is not a sure thing. We have to wait for the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF).
In any event, we have to ask, coalition with whom? The experience of other presidential systems suggests that a coalition of the presidentâ€™s party with that of the runner-up (in this case the PRD) is highly unlikely. The very definition of a presidential system is that the president is solely responsible for organizing and directing the executive branch. Thus the second-place party has little to gain and much to lose from being a junior partner in a coalition for which the presidentâ€™s party will get most of the credit â€“ or blame. And it is blame that it will count on, for the PAN taking blame for whatever goes wrong over the next six years increases the Partido de la RevoluciÃ³n DemocrÃ¡ticaâ€™s (PRD) chances of picking up the top prize in 2012.
A coalition with the PRI is more likely. Probably not a formal coalition, but a working arrangement. The PRI is badly weakened and should be willing to cooperate without demanding too high a price.
MW: What is the likelihood of electoral reform to break the three-party stalemate, and what might a reformed system look like?
MS: I do not like the use of the word, â€œstalemate,â€ or the notion that three-party politics needs to be â€œbroken.â€ There is no majority party in Mexico, and the idea that we should engineer one with crafty electoral-system design is simply the wrong way to approach the situation. While we certainly could create an electoral system that would give one party a majority of deputies despite its not having a majority of votes, I donâ€™t see such a system being legitimate. That is, these parties â€“ yes, even the PRI â€“ represent real constituencies of real Mexicans. Until such time as one of them can convince a majority of Mexicans to vote for it, the parties will have to learn to bargain with one another. Thatâ€™s democracy, and thus something to celebrate!
Of course, one could make a very convincing case that the electoral system for the presidency should be changed to require a runoff. As a student of presidential elections, I do not see anything inherently wrong with presidents being elected with less than 50 percent of the votes, but when they are elected with much less than 50 percent and also a tiny margin, the case for a runoff is strong. But letâ€™s recall that constitutional amendments are unlikely to pass without the cooperation of the PRD. Would that party agree to a majority-runoff format? Could the PRD expect to win a nationwide majority? Would either the PAN or the PRD want to put the PRI in a â€œkingmakerâ€ position in a second round? Interesting questions to ponder! Maybe they could agree to a plurality of less than 50 percent remaining sufficient, but only if some stipulated margin over the runner-up has been achieved. If the margin requirement were not met, then there would be a runoff.
In short, Mexico has a divided electorate, but despite the tensions of this election, I would not say a deeply divided one. Compromise is possible â€“ likely, in fact. The existing electoral system for congress works well, as does the existing balance of powers between the executive and legislature. The troubles Fox had with Congress were more a result of three parties sort of feeling their way in the new competitive environment than of anything structural. If I were asked what one thing to change about Mexicoâ€™s institutions, it would be to allow legislators (maybe the president, too!) to be reelected. Otherwise, do no harm! Mexico has come a long way in a short time, and its democracy is arguably healthier than most in the region.
La calificaciÃ³n presidencial del aÃ±o 2000 fue una prueba facilÃsima para el TEPJF, fue como pasar el kÃnder. Ahora, en este 2006, la calificaciÃ³n presidencial serÃ¡ para el TEPJF como su doctorado.
Indeed. (Roughly translated: In 2000, validating the election was as easy as passing kindergarten. In 2006, it will be like defending one’s doctorate.)
So, what is this body that now has the resolution of Mexico’s electoral dispute in its hands? It is a judicial body of last resort, charged with resolving election disputes and nothing else. Its Higher Chamber (Sala Superior) consists of seven magistrates who serve ten-year terms, expiring this October. (There are also five regional Salas of three members each.)
The terms of TEPJF magistrates are non-renewable. The body was established by the 1996 electoral reform (a constitutional amendment), and its members are elected by two-thirds vote of the Senate, from a terna, or list of three names (per vacancy), presented by the Supreme Court. (The Supreme Court justices themselves, since another constitutional reform in 1994, are also elected by a two-thirds vote of the Senate from a terna sent by the President, and serve for fifteen-year, non-renewable terms.)
The first TEPJ Sala Superior (which thus is the current one) was actually required to be elected by three fouths of the Senate, and in fact, all votes on these magistrates were unanimous.
In other words, the upcoming case is no Bush v. Gore.
The TEPJF itself has an English-language page that explains its role and also offers profiles of the magistrates.
It is worth noting that the Tribunal is sometimes referred to as the “TRIFE,” after the name of the tribunal that was in place in the early 1990s. The older acronym, often written Trife, is still used, presumably because “Tepjf” is not pronounceable!
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4