The 1902 Mexican elections took place in June 1902 for the purpose of choosing the President and Congress of the United States of Mexico. It was the first democratic election to be held in the U.S.M. in 27 years, and the first to be held after the fall of Chief of State turned Emperor of Mexico Benito Hermión in October 1901. The result was the election of exiled former Senator Anthony Flores of Durango.
Hermión's ouster had been engineered by Diego Cortez y Catalán, the President of Kramer Associates, the largest corporation in the U.S.M. The coup d'etat left the Mexican government under the control of Cortez's subordinate Martin Cole, Commandant of the Kramer Guard, which had siezed control of the Imperial Palace. After Hermión's flight on the morning of 16 October, Cole had declared himself head of a provisional government. Acting on Cortez's orders, Cole spent the weeks after Hermión's flight gaining control of the Mexican Army and state militias, and re-establishing order in those areas of the U.S.M. where it had broken down. On 15 November Cole issued a directive offering a full amnesty to all those who had been exiled by Hermión, and the legalization of the Moralistas, the Mexicano guerrilla movement founded in the 1870s.
Cole also set Saturday, 14 June 1902 as the date for the upcoming elections, and as Hermión's exiles returned to the U.S.M. political activity resumed in the country. Initially attempts were made to revive the pre-Hermión political parties, but the Continentalist Party was too closely associated with Hermión, while the Liberty Party was looked upon with disdain for its failure to prevent Hermión's takeover of the government.
The races for Congress and the presidency were dominated by returning exiles, since most of the men who had remained in the country and worked with Hermión feared that the association would work against them. However, as it turned out, many Hermionistas were returned to power. The most notable example of this effect was the presidential campaign of George Craig, Hermión's Secretary for Postal Affairs. Of the fourteen men who ran for president, Craig finished among the top three, and advanced to the subsequent runoff election against two returning exiles, Flores and Pedro Sanchez, the former editor of the Mexico City Times.
Sobel states that Sanchez had the highest vote total in the first round of voting with 12%. Although he does not say whether Craig or Flores finished second, it is reasonable to assume that if Cortez's favored candidate had finished second, he would have decreed that the runoff election include the top two candidates rather than the top three. If this is the case, then presumably Craig finished second and Cortez's preferred candidate, Flores, finished third.
|State||Craig votes||Craig %||Flores votes||Flores %||Sanchez votes||Sanchez %||Total votes|
|Mexico del Norte||452,970||27.5||660,978||40.2||530,578||32.3||1,644,526|
Sobel goes to considerable lengths to insist that Cortez did not control the outcome of the presidential election, though he admits that K.A. "has often been charged with controlling nations and men to its own ends." Sobel states that "Cortez himself always preferred republican rule," despite the fact that Cortez allowed Hermión to rule Mexico as a dictator for twenty years. It seems more likely that Cortez's stated preference for democratic government is due to the fact that he found it easier to influence elected leaders than autocrats.
Sobel admits that all three of the finalists in the presidential race were moderate republicans who "were the kind of men Cortez could work with easily." He also admits that Cortez preferred Flores, the eventual winner, because of his mixed ancestry, and that his public support for Flores and the efforts of K.A. executives who campaigned for Flores helped turn the election in his favor.
Sobel's sources for the 1902 Mexican elections are Raymond Vun Kannon's The Phoenix: Mexico's Rebirth (London, 1958); and Stanley Tulin's The Kramer Associates: The Cortez Years (London, 1970). Election results are from the U.S.M. Statistical Abstract, p. 113.
|U.S.M. National Elections|
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