“A very important step was taken, it is a historic election.” That has been the first reaction of the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after the elections in Mexico on Sunday. The president has dedicated a large part of his morning conference this Monday to celebrating what, in his reading, is a vote of confidence in his government project. “The people reaffirmed that they want transformation,” said the head of the Executive, who has highlighted the results of Morena, his party, in the votes to renew the Chamber of Deputies, which is shaping up to be the most voted formation, although the Trends suggest that it will have to turn to its allies, the Labor Party and the Green Party, to retain the parliamentary majority. López Obrador, however, has recognized that the results in the capital do not favor his movement and that self-criticism had to be done. “You have to work more with the people,” said the president, who attributed the collapse in the capital to “the dirty war.”
“The result is very important because it expresses a level of political maturity that had never been seen because a project was voted on,” said López Obrador. The president did not appear on the ballot in the midterm elections, in which 15 of the 32 governorships in the country were also elected, but he established himself as an omnipresent figure during the campaign. Midterm votes often result in a referendum on the role of the president right in the middle of his term. This electoral process grouped all the political forces into two large blocks: those who support and those who oppose the Government. López Obrador’s drag posed a scenario at the beginning of the contest in which Morena would sweep the most important positions at stake, but the preliminary results point to a more balanced political terrain than anticipated.
Nothing reflected this better than the contest in Mexico City, undoubtedly the hardest and most surprising blow for Morena in these elections. The capital has been a bastion of the left in the last three decades and the initial forecast was that the president’s party, who was head of government from 2000 to 2005, would take the 16 mayoralties in dispute and maintain control of the local Congress. The trends now mark that the opposition will be in front of most of the demarcations of the old Federal District, where Claudia Sheinbaum governs, one of the main candidates to take over from López Obrador in 2024.
“I am happy, happy, happy,” said the president, smiling, who minimized the setbacks of his party in the mayors of Mexico City and in the handful of governorships that will go to the opposition or that have closed in the last stretch . In the damage control of the president, the term “propaganda” has been used on several occasions to lessen the defeats of his movement. He has focused his message on crushing the media and his political rivals as the focus of the post-election hangover. However, López Obrador has hinted that he will wait for the final voting data to make the cash cut and stressed that the day passed without major incidents and with a much higher turnout than normal for an intermediate election , around 52.5%.
Morena’s bet in Congress was to form a coalition with two parties that have given him parliamentary support with the idea of obtaining a qualified majority, which would allow him to promote reforms to the Constitution. The first trends show that this bet fell short and that Morena, despite being by far the party with the most seats, backed down some delegations with respect to the 2018 election. Asked about whether he was concerned that his party would lose control of the Legislative Assembly , López Obrador has defended that “the absolute majority does not exist” and that his formation has never had an absolute majority.
“The media are, due to lack of information or bad faith, distorting things,” said the president. López Obrador has presented the preliminary results and celebrated that Morena was the party that obtained the most seats by direct vote in the lower house, the so-called uninominal. “It was a triumph of democracy,” insisted the president, who has not wanted to advance what will be the priorities of his Government in the Legislature. What the president omitted is that 200 of the 500 seats are decided by the principle of proportional representation, which distributes seats by the percentage of votes obtained by each party, which usually balances the conformation of the parliamentary groups.
López Obrador has ruled out adjustments to his government in light of the results. The president has said that he will do just the opposite and that, with the support obtained, there will be continuity for social programs, the hallmark of his Administration. “This means having the budget guaranteed for those most in need, for the poor,” he stressed about what he interprets as a victory for his movement in the lower house.
“They were not state elections like those that were held for decades,” the president insisted. The president has adopted a much more conciliatory tone compared to recent weeks, which were marked by clashes with the National Electoral Institute. López Obrador has said that it was a “free and fair” election and has applauded the participation of citizens who were poll workers. As the figures begin to be known, not only will the distribution of more than 20,000 public offices be at stake, the speech about what happened in the election will also be disputed: all the contending parties will defend their victories and go to court to challenge their defeats. , especially if they are closed. Ultimately, what is clear is that, although the elections were held last Sunday, the Mexican election still has many chapters to be defined.
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