PRI critics worry that Sunday's election gives the party a major boost ahead of the July 2012 presidential poll.
“I am more afraid of these Mexican dinosaurs than of those that existed millions of years ago. One day you will understand why,” warns writer and journalist Guadalupe Loaeza in a July 5 column in Reforma.
Considered by critics as extinct and out-of-touch “dinosaurs” after loosing power in 2000 and placing third in 2006, the party ironically captured the youth vote in Mexico state, according to some media reports. The state’s telegenic governor and his soap opera star wife may have had something to do with it.
The party has also managed to galvanize its strong local base, even after voters turned on them in national elections. However, critics claim that voter base has been bought off with handouts of canned foods and free T-shirts.
Cesar Camacho, the PRI candidate's electoral authority representative, says: "The criticism is absolutely unfounded. Those who make the claim are trying to hide their own deficiencies, and not admit their errors."
Mr. Camacho said the other candidates were not from Mexico state, putting them at a disadvantage to Avila, who was born there and knows its political and social landscape.
For those who suffered through some of the lowest points of PRI rule, Sunday’s crushing victory is a warning that opponents must get their act together.
“People must not forget the authoritarianism of the PRI,” says Felix Hernandez Gamundi, a former student leader who witnessed the 1968 state-led massacre at Tlatelolco. Hernandez Gamundi acknowledged that Mexican society has advanced greatly since then and that such an event would not occur again under any government.