Sunday in Mexico's first-ever primary election, the party in power showed its strength and delivered an impressive victory for the candidate of the establishment, Francisco Labastida. Despite this business-as-usual outcome, things have irreversibly changed in Mexico's political landscape, because for the first time it was 10 million voters, not a powerful politician, making the decision.
For the past 70 years, every president had named his successor, choosing the man who would be the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and by extension president of Mexico. In this first primary election, the PRI machine went to work and delivered a victory for Labastida that looked like so many victories of the past, but Labastida's solid margin makes him indisputably the voters' choice, despite scattered accusations of electoral fraud. The race between the two chief candidates, Labastida and a maverick former governor, Roberto Madrazo, was open and competitive; even a couple of months ago it was impossible to predict the winner.