Friday, November 25, 2005

Voting intentions

So, a quick round up of this week's seminars: Monday's mandatory session concerned the quantitative analysis of voting patterns and developing party congruence in the European Parliament since 1979. The highlight was definitely the 'maps' which showed how voting patterns had changed over the previous three maps. But what lost me was the statistical data presented to show how particular variables had been held and the statistical significance of particular issues. I wasn't the only one to just see a wall of numbers - I had to be talked through the findings.

Tuesday's Latin American research seminar was presented by Adriana Jimenez Cuen, whose working on binationalism in Mexico. Her work concerns the ability of Mexican migrants to the US being entitled to vote in Mexican elections - and in the case of Zacatecas state, actually stand for election.

Yet what is interesting is that these changes, progressive as they are, only seem to maintain existing inequalities and political clientelism. For example, it is the wealthier migrants who have a greater say in how remittances are to be invested, along with determining which of the candidates they plan to support. Furthermore, the recent case of the so-called Tomato King, who is based in California but stood for election in his hometown highlights the persistance of political clientelism. Party politics - as defined through ideological positions - remain weak, with personal interests the driving force for choosing the left-wing PRD candidate over the more obvious conservative options of the PRI or PAN.

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