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Elections in Cabo

If you plan to be in Los Cabos, either on vacation or looking for Houses in Cabo in early February you should be aware that Sunday February 6th is Election Day.  You are not going to be voting so it is unnecessary to go into details about which candidates for which parties are running.  But an important detail that affects all tourists and residents alike is that one cannot buy alcohol on this day.  Many tourists are unaware of this fact and are hugely surprised when they go to stock up their timeshare unit or one of the many lovely Cabo Villas. 

In the past, guests of hotels have been able to indulge in alcoholic beverages at their hotel but restaurants open to the public cannot serve alcohol. 

Mexico has been getting a bad rap from the U.S. media of late.  It has suffered a lack of tourism due to the picture painted by the press.  Mexico is painted as being responsible for the swine flu, condemned for the drug wars which are in a few isolated areas not the entire country.  And many commentators (probably those who have never visited this lovely country) talk about the entire country being corrupt and lawless.  To the contrary, Mexico is a lovely peaceful country of warm and accommodating peoples who abide by the laws and hold fair elections of their public officials.  Let us explain a little about the electoral process in Mexico.

Elections in Mexico determine who, on the national level, takes the position of the head of state - the president– as well as the legislature.

The President of Mexico is elected for a six-year term by the people. The candidate who wins the most votes is elected president even if he or she does not have an absolute majority.

In Mexico, every presidential election will always be a non-incumbent election.

The Congress of the Union (Congreso de la Unión) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) has 500 members, elected for a three year term, 300 of whom are elected in single-seat constituents by plurality, with the remaining 200 members elected by proportional representation in 5 multi-state, 40-seat constituencies. The 200 PR-seats are distributed generally without taking account the 300 plurality-seats (Parallel Voting), but since 1996 a party cannot get more seats overall than 8 % above its result for the PR-seats (a party must win 42% of the votes for the PR-seats to achieve an overall majority). There are two exceptions on this rule: first, a party can only lose PR-seats due to this rule (and no plurality-seats); second, a party can never get more than 300 seats overall (even if it has more than 52% of the votes for the PR-seats).

The Chamber of Senators(Cámara de Senadores) has 128 members, elected for a six-year term, 96 of them in three-seat constituencies (corresponding to the nation's 31 states and one Federal District) and 32 by proportional representation on a nationwide basis. In the state constituencies, two seats are awarded to the plurality winner and one to the first runner-up.

At the local level, each of Mexico's 31 constituent states elects a governor to serve a six-year term; they also elect legislative deputies who sit in state congresses, and municipal presidents (presidentes municipales, or mayors). The Federal District (Mexico City) elects a Head of Government in lieu of a mayor, district assemblymen in lieu of state congressional deputies, and borough heads in lieu of municipal presidents.

Mexico has a multi-party system, with three dominant political parties, and a number of smaller ones. Alliances and coalitions are common; normally, they are local (state) affairs and involve one of the big three and any number of minor parties; on extraordinary occasions, two of the big three will ally themselves against the third.

Elections are always held on Sundays.  It is good time for the visitor to Los Cabos to spend the day with Cabo San Lucas Real Estate looking at Homes in Cabo.  Just be sure to shop for your liquid refreshment on February 5th.

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 9:54 AM by Nick Fong
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