Election Fever | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Election Fever

Four days from now is Election Day. For Mexicans, this will be the second presidential election where voters have an actual choice. Most other elective offices are up for grabs as well: governorships, mayoralties, legislature seats...

We are now in the middle of a quiet week. Campaigning ended last Sunday by law, giving everyone a chance to relax and think about their choices before voting. The end of campaigning was marked by noisy rallies, loud even by Mexican standards. A sound system with more than 80 huge speakers was set up in the Jardin. All day long, candidates yelled into microphones, haranguing the crowds. Of course, fireworks exploded continuously. No public function happens without fireworks.

Foreigners are prohibited by law from participating in politics, so while the election results are important for us gringos, our stake in the process is somewhat reduced. All of the hoopla is, for us, merely annoying.

Advertisements for candidates are painted on walls. Posters cover every available surface: buses, buildings, phone poles, ropes strung across streets, bridges... The place is a mess.

Some candidates might be better off with more flattering portraits on their posters.


Ar the risk of judging character by appearances, I must say that Martín Martínez, in this poster, is not trust-inspiring. The jowly face, the hooded eyes and the grudging smile evoke thoughts of past politicians whose interests were not necessarily those of the people they served, to be delicate about it. Martín might consider putting up a few more pesos for a better photographer next time.


On the other hand, Miguel Raya's photo makes him look like a technician, come to fix your satellite receiver. Neither of them is wearing a necktie, probably to enhance their images as men of the common people. They are, after all, candidates of the left-wing PRD. But in Miguel's case, casual dress just makes him look like a nebbish.

These may well be capable, honorable men. But their posters don't, in my mind, help convey that idea. Image. Always so important. And often elusive in local, low-budget politics.