Anulled votes in Mexico, a sign of change?
Preliminary number in the recent federal elections in Mexico, show close to two million people, — 5.39% of the total national vote—, decided to annul their vote. In México City, that number was even higher; 13.2% of the total vote.
This movement of annulment helped to contribute to the fact that only 38.5% of the Mexican population voted in this congressional elections.
The annulment vote has put forth a new political actor: inconformity, a player that became the forth force in the elections, resulting in higher votes that the Workers Party and Nueva Alianza; getting twice the votes of Convergencia and five times more votes than the Social Democratic Party.
The movement started about two months prior to the mid-term elections for congress. The idea was to annul the vote, – instead of simply not voting-, as a way to show politicians the profound discontent of the population and a rejection to the severely flawed party system.
This movement was not done in traditional media like radio or tv, -due to a reformed electoral law prohibiting this-, but it was a great success trough new media and social network such as facebook, twitter and some political blogs that promoted the idea of annulling votes as a way to reject current political climate.
“The rejection is important, because it is clear that the 2007 Electoral Reform is a mess. Both in private and public spheres, politicians from all parties agree the campaigns are over regulated and there is urgent need to revise many articles.
That’s why annulling or not voting on the July 5th elections should be the start of a citizen movement, aimed at ending the political party monopolies” wrote Reforma Columnist, Jaime Sánchez Susarrey.
This annulment vote is therefore not just a fight in the electoral polls, but a call to action and discussion amongst citizens and the IFE.
One of the strongest defenders of this is a site called Stop It X, using the Roman numeral and the common voting sign, to put forth a series of ten proposed changes in Mexican Politics.
The site demands for the reelection of senators cogress people and city mayors; the reduction of a 100 congressional seats; the disappearance of proportional representation; reforming article 41 that currently prohibits negative campaigning.
The site also proposed the defense of freedom of expression in the media (including the web); drastic reduction in the public financing of political campaigns; a stronger and autonomous IFE whose counselors should not be named by party leaders; the acceptance of independent candidates and the need of plebiscite(similar to impeachment).
For now, it seems common citizens have spoken, will the Mexican political class listen?