The partial Mexican election results indicate that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, although he managed to retain the largest congressional caucus, suffered major defeats in the face of opposition seeking to capitalize on discontent over his record in economic policies and the fight against crime.
According to preliminaries released by the National Electoral Institute (INE), AMLO’s ruling coalition, as the president is called, is expected to win between 265 and 292 of the House’s 500 seats, which is less than the majority of the two. third party required for constitutional changes, which the leftist managed to rally together in the first half of his term.
Before the elections, Morena (Movement for National Regeneration), AMLO’s party, alone had 253 seats in the House, an absolute majority. Now, according to INE projections, it should have a total of between 190 and 203.
To defend its majority, the left-wing party relies on the votes of the Labor Party (from 35 to 41) and the Greens (from 40 to 48). Concretely, this means that Obrador will have to renew his capacity of liaison with the parliamentarians of other parties in order to try to advance his political project.
The center-right PAN (National Action Party), the main opposition party in López Obrador, is expected to win between 106 and 117 seats, according to the survey. The third most voted acronym was the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), with a total of seats between 63 and 75. The Democratic Revolutionary Party must elect between 12 and 21 deputies. Together, the three parties, which have formed an alliance against the governing coalition, have between 181 and 213 seats in the House.
For political analysts, the opposition has won an important triumph by politically capitalizing on discontent against the current government. The caveat, however, is that the reshuffle of the pro-AMLO majority represents a move to vote against the president, and not necessarily in favor of opposing parties.
Losses in the House are expected to reduce AMLO’s leeway to pursue constitutional changes that strengthen its initiative to increase state control over the energy sector, contrary to laws that have opened the door to private companies in 2014.
Yet at the regional level, preliminary tally suggests Morena had successful elections, winning most of the 15 disputed state governments and increasing the party’s presence across the country.
An exception was the Mexican capital. Mexico City has been an important stronghold for AMLO since it gained national visibility as mayor from 2000 to 2005. But early results indicate that Morena could lose control of several of the capital’s 16 districts, which ‘she once dominated.
The president welcomed the result, Monday (7), as a new step forward on the road to democracy. He thanked the population for ensuring that his political project still had a majority in the House and, with it, control of the federal budget. In press conferences, he also declared that the elections were “free and clean” and that they were not subject to state intervention.
The new Chamber of Deputies, elected every three years, will begin its mandate on September 1. The Senate, also dominated by Morena, is renewed every six years.
On Sunday, 15 out of 32 governors were also elected, in addition to more than 20,000 local offices. The president’s party has won at least eight governments, preliminary results show, which is a step up from the current six governments.
The elections came after an escalation in violence that saw the murder of 91 politicians, including 36 candidates or pre-candidates, according to consultancy firm Etellekt. The fear scenario may have interfered with voter turnout, which the INE said was between 51.7% and 52.5%.
On Sunday, two heads and body parts were placed in polling stations in Tijuana, a town on the US border.
On Saturday (5), five natives carrying electoral materials died in an ambush in the state of Chiapas. On Wednesday (2), Marilú Martínez, candidate for mayor of Cutzamala de Pinzón, in the southern state of Guerrero, was kidnapped but later found alive.
On May 28, Cipriano Villanueva, candidate for the post of municipal councilor of Acapetahua by the Chiapas Unidos party, was shot dead. Three days earlier, Alma Barragán, candidate for mayor of Moroleón through the Citizen’s Movement of the Central State of Guanjuato, had been shot dead in an act with residents.