At the end of an electoral campaign again marked by violence, Mexico knows this Sunday (6) a large-scale and two-tier election – it renews the entire Chamber of Deputies and changes half of the governors, thus as regional mayors. and legislators.
While President Andrés Manuel López Obrador Morena’s left-wing party (Movement for National Regeneration) is expected to remain the main political force in the country, polls suggest it could lose the comfortable majority that is currently facilitating constitutional change.
The choices of 15 of the 32 governors and mayors, on the other hand, fuel the historically violent climate, with attacks, kidnappings and deaths – because it is in the local sphere that drug cartels, criminal and paramilitary groups find their way. also compete for territory at the ballot box. , by financing campaigns and by launching as candidates representatives of the factions themselves.
“So far, we have 89 murdered politicians, 75% of whom were opposed to the authorities in place in these regions,” he told Folha Ruben Salazar of the Etellekt consultancy.
While the number may seem impressive, it is lower than that recorded in the 2018 regional elections, where there were 112 murders. However, Salazar underlines the increase in other crimes, which total 450, including assaults, kidnappings and other attacks. Three years ago, there were 345 during the campaign.
The offenses relate to the contestation of positions that mean the maintenance of privileges and the control of illicit businesses. “Local politics are hijacked by armed groups, it is up to them, and there is a lot of money involved, from extortion to companies and peasants, drug trafficking, unofficial fees charged for transport. “, says Salazar. “It’s a dispute for control of the local business, more than a dispute for power.”
Many of these killings during election campaigns take place in broad daylight. This is the case of Abel Murrieta, 58, a candidate for mayor of Cajeme, in the state of Sonora, who was shot ten times while walking through the streets of the city during a event with voters. Murrieta was the lawyer of a powerful local family, the Lebarón, enemies of the cartels linked to drug trafficking.
21,000 regional positions are in dispute in this election, in addition to the 500 deputies who make up the lower house of Congress. The Senate will not be renewed until the next presidential election, in 2024.
The changes in parliament, however, could jeopardize the reforms López Obrador intends to make and which require more than two-thirds of the house. Among them are the overthrow of an energy package from his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), the flexibility of labor legislation and a proposal for reform of the judiciary.
According to the latest poll, carried out by El Universal, Morena should guarantee 39% of the votes in this election, while the PAN (National Action Party) would win 21% and the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) 20%.
Currently, the president’s party dominates with 46% – which, along with alliances with similar legends, has given him the majority needed to effect changes in the Constitution.
“In all the midterm elections since 1997, the ruling party has lost support in the Chamber of Deputies. It is the wear and tear that occurs over the long term. [no México, são de seis anos], especially in times of crisis, ”explains political scientist Alejandro Moreno.
Popular approval for López Obrador’s, however, remains high – although it has declined recently. According to a recent Reforma newspaper survey, the president has a 56% approval rating and is highly regarded in rural areas, among working poor and among students in poorer areas.
As positive points of his administration, subsidies in the agricultural field, the distribution of scholarships and more direct communication with the population are mentioned.
Criticism of him is on safety and health – the disapproval of his management in this area is 58% and reaches 62% when it comes to the fight against the pandemic.
Officially, the country has 2,426,822 confirmed cases and 228,362 deaths from the coronavirus. These figures have, however, been questioned by the local and foreign press. Investigations that take into account the increase in deaths by region or records of deaths noted as “Covid suspects” are reaching higher rates than those reported by the government.
The Mexican president is among the populist leaders who downplayed the severity of the pandemic at the start of the crisis. He was barely seen wearing a mask and even asked people to stay on the streets, “boosting the popular economy.”
With the worsening of the health crisis, however, he moderated his speech, but even today he considers it practically outdated. Recently infected with the coronavirus, he recorded a video walking through the corridors of the National Palace to show that he was not afraid of the disease.
Despite this, the next three years of his tenure will also be marked by the impact of the pandemic on the economy, after Mexico’s GDP contracted 8.5% in 2020.
Another factor to observe in the second half of his administration is the militarization of the government. López Obrador called the military to compose his office and placed them in public functions they did not previously perform, such as controlling flights at airports, coordinating vaccination campaigns and building railroads. According to him, we must make better use of the Armed Forces.