Last Thursday, officials reported the recovery of the last known victim of Mexico’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, raising the total death toll to 369 (Wright 2017). Groups such as FuerzaMexico have been working together in response to the combined disasters which hit Mexico last month to coordinate petitions asking Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) to redirect finances intended for the upcoming presidential campaign to relief efforts (Grillo 2017).
Amongst the competing parties, there has been a wide spectrum of reactions to the proposal. The current ruling party of President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, pushed towards a decision to keep their funds in government hands, with the intention of utilizing a portion for official earthquake relief efforts. They also voted to reduce the size of the legislature in order to save on their operating costs (Associated Press 2017).
The opposing leftist party, The National Regeneration Movement (Morena), decided upon an entirely different approach. After initially proposing a donation of 20 percent of their funding, Morena announced that it would donate the money intended for the upcoming election in its entirety. In addition, Morena president Lopez Obrador suggested committing pensions to be received by former presidents to quake victims, denouncing the misuse of public funds by the “mafia of power” currently governing the country (teleSUR 2017).
INE lead adviser Benito Nacif was quick to accuse Obrador of being an “opportunist” of the situation, a sentiment he shared with the INE itself and a number of opposition parties. He concluded that it was forbidden for political parties to divert their resources toward a purpose apart from “political issues”; of course, this decision was redacted after over a million Mexican citizens voiced their opinion on the matter (teleSUR 2017).
Whether Obrador is genuine in his intentions or not, his anti-establishment opinions have been drawing the support of an increasingly skeptical population. Having to weather a number of corruption scandals, the approval ratings of President Peña Nieto are currently in the teens, dragging the reputation of the PRI down with them (Grillo 2017). Meanwhile, recent surveys conducted by El Universal found that 23.3 percent of participants were in support of Morena for the 2018 presidential election, placing it in the lead (the National Action Party followed with 20 percent support) (Stargardter 2017).
Wright, Pam. 2017. “Death Toll in Mexico’s Magnitude 7.1 Quake Rises to 369 as Last Body Is Recovered From Rubble, Officials Say.” 5 October. The Weather Channel. Available to read here: https://weather.com/news/news/mexico-earthquake-death-toll [Accessed 5 October 2017].
Stargardter, Gabriel. 2017. “Mexican Leftist Obrador Leads Ahead of 2018 Election: Poll”. 18 September. U.S. News. Available to read here: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-09-18/mexican-leftist-obrador-leads-ahead-of-2018-election-poll [Accessed 5 October 2017].
Grillo, Ioan. 2017. “Mexico City’s People Power.” 22 September. The New York Times. Available to read here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/opinion/sunday/mexico-citys-people-power.html [Accessed 5 October 2017].
The Associated Press. 2017. “The Lateset: Mexico parties offer funds for quake relief.” 26 September. ABC News. Available to read here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/latest-mexicos-official-quake-death-toll-rises-331-50099793 [Accessed 5 October 2017].
teleSUR. 2017. “Mexico’s Obrador Pushes Party to Donate 100% of Budget to Earthquake Victims.” 23 September. TeleSUR Mundial. Available to read here: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Mexicos-Obrador-Pushes-Party-to-Donate-100-of-Budget-to-Earthquake-Victims-20170923-0014.html [Accessed 5 October 2017].