AS/COA Online | Youth Protests Seek to Stir up Mexican Presidential Race

(co-authored with Mark Keller)

Throughout the Mexican electoral race, not much has succeeded in moving the needle when it comes to the frontrunner’s commanding poll lead. Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto’s lead continues to hover in the double digits, as it did at the official start of the campaign in March. But a student movement, dubbed #YoSoy132, emerged in recent weeks to shake up the election, protesting what appears to be an inevitable return to a presidency by the PRI—the party that held control of the presidency for seven decades before the National Action Party (PAN) victory in 2000. In particular, the protesters contend that Mexico’s top media outlets favor Peña Nieto. Opinions diverge on the movement, with some viewing it as an optimistic sign that young voters are shaking off political apathy. But others argue the movement’s support base hails from the left-leaning Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), whose candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) refused to concede loss during the last presidential election. Across the spectrum, many question whether it can have an impact on the outcome of the July 1 presidential vote, given that voter support for Peña currently stands at 46 percent—more than 20 points higher than either AMLO or PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota.

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