2009.07.09: PRI-PVEM coalition absolute majority
Posted by Maher on July 9, 2009
Following up on some predictions I made before the July 5 midterm elections in Mexico, I wanted to give credit to a professor of mine and other academics who study Mexico for giving me a nice sounding board of people to geek out on. Also, below are some comments from Dr. Shugart on what exact break down of seat totals will be in MX if the preliminary polls reflect the final reality.
First, my former professor, Matthew Shugart of IRPS at UCSD, had us (his graduate students) write two related papers identifying an institutional or electoral situation in a given country, identify the problem(s) and then propose strategies to implement reform.
I suggested that the PRI would not only come out on top (win the largest number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the midterm elections), but would potentially gain an absolute majority in this lower chamber. I admittedly was assuming that the pre-electoral coalition between the green party and the PRI would result in continued cooperation post-election (this is not historically automatic as pointed out by my very respected colleague Alejandra Ríos Cázares in her recent message to me). Shugart also acknowledged the uncertainty of the PVEM-PRI post-electoral coalition on his blog during this past week. My point was that the massive shift in PRI political power would undoubetly change the landscape of Mexican politics over the next three years (i.e. during the remainder of the Obama administration #1′s tenure). Regardless, Shugart didn’t expect the PRI to come on so strong but they did. I have to admit, he’s such an expert on so many countries that he probably just wasn’t watching the most recent material coming from Mexico experts like Jeff Weldon, George Grayson, Sergio Aguayo, Sergio Sarmiento, Rod Camp, David Shirk, and his IRPS colleagues Rene Zenteno and Alberto Diaz-Cayeros. Especially Weldon predicted this outcome back in early 2008 following the 2007 electoral reforms that were largely pushed by Manlio Fabio Beltrones (see: CSIS 2008 panel transcipts).
Shugart has given some recent coverage to the change in Mexico on his Fruit and Votes blog:
That’s impressive that the PRI Green coalition won in 50 of the 63 districts it contested! If those seats are added to the nominal-tier total of the PRI, these parties have 62.3% of the seats in that tier. The two parties might combine a majority, so maybe there is divided government after all. (It is not clear to me how much we can expect the PRI and Greens to work together to control congress and whether they have a common legislative program.)
The PAN would be only slightly underrepresented, with 23.4% of the nominal-tier seats. Given 28% of the vote, the party’s list seats would be around 56, for 127 overall (25.4%).
The PRD’s nominal-tier seats would be almost perfectly proportional. A bit unusual given FPTP, but it would underscore the extent to which the PRD is a regional party. Its votes obviously were concentrated in strongholds. Interesting point on the districts currently held. (Of course, none of the incumbents was running this time, because immediate reelection is not permitted.)
The PT-Convergencia coalition’s 3 seats in single-seat districts is actually even more surprising to me than the PRD’s 39. But if it took votes from the PRD in multiparty capital-area districts, I suppose that explains it.