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The Role of PR in Mexico's Mid-Term Elections

Sean Silva

While Mexico's traditional political parties maintained a majority, there were a few surprises in this year's mid-term elections

On Sunday, June 7th, Mexico held its mid-term elections. While mid-terms get their fair share of public attention, they are usually not as closely watched as a formal Presidential election.

These elections, however, had everybody talking. Mexico's government has had a severe public fallout over the past two years. Embezzlement accusations tied back to President Enrique Peña Nieto and a conflicted stance about how receptive the country should be to the private sector, among other issues, have encouraged the public to be more vocal towards the current government. On a high level, the public relations industry had its fingerprints all over this election.

Even leading up to the election, an unusual amount of non-political public figures either joined or supported political parties, a sign of enhanced importance. For instance, Mexican TV star Alejandro Camacho joined PES (the Social Encounter Party), a newly-formed party that will come away from this election with at least a handful of seats.

As for the elections themselves, Mexico's traditional political parties (PRI, PAN) retained the highest percentage of deputy seats as expected. However, they seem to have lost a few seats to some of the emerging, more vocal parties such as Morena.

Most notably, Jaime Rodriguez Calderón, nicknamed "El Bronco" won the governor's seat of Nuevo León, making him the first ever governor-elect to come from an independent party.

In this respect, social media was also a factor, as El Bronco's competitor in the Nuevo León governor race, Ivonne Rodriguez, had her Twitter account hacked on Election Day, from which perpetrators published unfounded tweets about her accepting bribes.

Interestingly, analysts also noted that some parties (e.g., the PAN, which reported a lower than usual 21.8% of seats) may have overdone their smear campaigns and actually lost votes as a result, in what is being labeled as a Voto Castigo (punishment vote).

Lastly, the final few televised hours of El Financiero, a top Mexican news outlet which covered the elections live, saw a myriad of political candidates calling into the show before the results were final and declaring their different [though unofficial] victories, illustrating the premium candidates place on broadcast mediums to continue getting their messages across.

In sum, there's been a much stronger focus on Mexico, which showcases a more stable economy than several other Latin American nations, leading up to these elections. The dynamics between all of the different constituents shows the importance this nation places on its public forum, an impact defined by reputation management and campaign execution, two staples of public relations. End of Story

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