Oaxaca’s Governor’s Race: Fractured Parties & Alliances

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is fighting to return Oaxaca to its control after the PRD disrupted its 80 year streak in 2010. The PRI has allied with Nueva Alianza and Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) under PRI candidate Alejandro Murat Hinojosa. Murat left the directorship of the Instituto del Fondo Nacional para la Vivienda de los Trabajadores (Infonavit) to follow in his father’s footsteps -- José Murat Casab was the former Oaxaca Governor -- and seek the state governorship. Murat has accused the current Cue administration of lying with its failed public policies, leaving Oaxacans without access to healthcare, sewage, and electricity. Murat promises to bring transparency and accountability to spending and focus on public policies that come from the public. 

The Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) gubernatorial selection caucus was much more contentious and has left the party divided. In the morning of 24 February 2016 outside of the Hotel Misión San Felipe in the capital of Oaxaca, obstreperous protesters threw two tear gas bombs, disrupting the gathering, and police responded and secured the hotel perimeter. Despite the interruption, the meeting resumed and votes were cast in the contentions candidate selection process. Benjamin Robles Montoya, who had won several prior PRD polls, lost the nomination 75-164 to former PRI party member José Antonio Estefan Garfias. 

This selection caused a division in the party ranks, with Robles threatening to leave the party after losing the nomination, claiming the process was unfair. Furthermore, Cámara de Diputados PRD Vice Coordinator Guadalupe Acosta Naranjo accused current Oaxaca Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo (PRD) and former PRD Secretary General Héctor Bautista of forming a pact with Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong to return the governorship to the PRI by pushing for Estefan Garfias to be the PRD candidate to divide the party. Even though the National PRD President Agustín Basave Benítez pleaded with Robles not the leave, Robles was allegedly in negotiations with the Partido Encuentro Social (PES) to be their candidate.

Shortly after Estefan’s candidacy announcement, Partido Acción Nacional President Ricardo Anaya confirmed the alliance between the PRD, PAN, and Partido Trabajadores (PT) for the governor's race in Oaxaca. Unexpectedly, PT broke their alliance with PRD and PAN on 3 March 2016 and put Robles forward as their candidate, stating they are unsure how the coalition candidate was selected and Robles has performed the best in the polls against all of the other candidates.

The PAN confirmed on 4 March they are sticking with the Coalición Con Rumbo y Estabilidad por Oaxaca, under the candidacy of Estefan Garfias, claiming the alliance with the PRD is still strong. Oaxaca PRD President Carol Altamirano Antonio challenged Robles candidacy with PT, saying he already participated in the completed PRD candidate selection process, where he was not chosen, and then switched parties. Altamirano said they believe his candidacy is illegal under the Ley General de Instituciones y Procedimientos Electorales Article 11. He also claimed this candidacy was orchestrated by the PRI, since the Interior Ministry returned the PT’s registration. 

While the two alliances and Robles will probably dominate the coverage of the elections, other parties are running gubernatorial candidates as well. Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) nominated Salomón Jara Cruz and Partido Social Demócrata (PSD) presented Manuel Pérez Morales. Joaquín Ruiz Salazar is the candidate for the newly established, local Partido Renovación Social (PRS). Additionally, several independent candidates have gubernatorial aspirations: Patronato Pro Defensa y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural y Natural de Oaxaca (Pro Oax) President José Márquez Pérez; former Federal PT Deputy Matías Romero Solano; and Zenén Ávila Elena, who is the the current President of the Confederación Nacional de los Pueblos Dinámicos de México and was interested in running for president under the PRI in 2007. However, the Instituto Estatal Electoral y de Participación Ciudadana de Oaxaca (IEEPCO) ruled on 4 March independent candidates Matías Romero Solano, Juan Manuel García López and Zenén Ávila Elena failed to meet all of the requirements to be considered a formal candidate in the June 2016 elections.

Regardless of the number of candidates, the election will be between Robles, Murat, Estefan and probably a dark horse from a local, small party. The fractured state of the PRD in Oaxaca is a great advantage for Murat (PRI) and his coalition. However, given Robles popularity in the state, it is too early to tell how it will all play out on 5 June.