The Elections and Mass Media.
On the first day of July of this year, elections for the President of the United Mexican States, eight governorships, the Head of Government of Mexico City, 500 representatives and 128 senators will be held, as well as elections for local Congresses and Municipal Presidencies in thirty states.
The federal electoral process began with the pre-campaign period, which lasted from December 14, 2017 to February 11, 2018 and gave way to the campaign period that began on March 30 and will conclude on June 27.
According to data from the Executive Directorate of the Federal Electoral Register, as of February 9 of this year a nominal list of 88’311.542 registered citizens existed, which is dominated by groups of ages between 20 and 29 years old.
These will be the first federal elections regulated by the General Law on Electoral Institutions and Procedures, published in the Federal Official Gazette on May 23, 2014 and which repealed the Federal Code of Electoral Institutions and Procedures. Said Law originated the transformation of the electoral authority into the National Electoral Institute (INE, in Spanish), with governing principles such as legality, certainty, impartiality, objectivity, independence and publicity, and which also represented an expenditure of resources due to the transformation.
Among the new provisions of the electoral law, those regarding the participation of independent candidates, the mechanisms for forming coalitions between political parties, the inspection of political parties’ resources, as well as the privileges related to radio and television access of political parties, coalitions and independent candidates, are among the most relevant.
Here, we will concentrate on the privileges of political parties, coalitions and independent candidates. First, it must be noted that the INE is the sole authority for managing the time slots that correspond to the State on radio and television, which are intended for its own purposes and for the purposes of other electoral authorities, as well as to the exercise of the privileges and rights granted to politicians.
Within federal electoral processes, as from the beginning of the pre-campaigns and until the day of the election, the INE has forty-eight minutes, every day, at its disposal on each radio station and television channel. The messages broadcasted in each medium will be transmitted in the programming schedule, between 06:00 – 00:00 hrs. of each day, and shall be distributed in segments of two or three minutes per each transmission hour, on each radio station and television channel. In the schedules from 06:00 to 12:00 hrs., and from 18:00 to 00:00 hrs., three-minute messages per hour shall be used; in the schedule from 12:00 to 18:00 hrs., two-minute messages per hour shall be used. It is worth mentioning that, pursuant to information from the INE, the radio broadcasting catalog has 1.877 radio stations and 1.234 television channels distributed in the 32 states.
For the distribution of the number of messages allocated to each political party, the INE is obligated to distribute 30% of the total equally and the remaining 70% in proportion to the percentage of votes obtained by each political party in the election for federal representatives. In the case of newly registered political parties, both national and local, as applicable, such parties will only participate in the distribution of the 30%.
Regarding independent candidates, the same have access to a 30% of the aforementioned distribution. In turn, in the case of coalitions, the INE will distribute the 30% equally as if the coalition were a single party and the remaining 70% in proportion to the votes of each associated party. For such cases, a coalition agreement that details the distribution of time in each medium for the coalition candidates must exist.