The preliminary results of Sunday’s midterm elections gave Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador a touch of attention, as his party did not achieve the overwhelming victory that it sought.
The leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) of López Obrador will maintain, together with its allies, the absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but they are far from obtaining a qualified majority of two thirds to approve constitutional reforms.
Morena is also far from the 30 million votes obtained in the 2018 presidential elections and will now depend more on his allies in the Chamber of Deputies, the Labor Party and the Green Party (PVEM).
Estimates indicate that Morena will obtain from 190 to 203 deputies, below the 253 he currently has, to which will be added the 40 to 48 deputies from the Green Party (PVEM) and another 35 to 41 from the Labor Party (PT).
Voters line up this Sunday to cast their vote in the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco state. Photo: EFE
The victorious INE
Regardless of the distribution of seats, analysts agree that the great winner of the day was the National Electoral Institute (INE) and its president Lorenzo Córdova, when the largest elections in the history of Mexico were held without hardly any incidents by the number of federal, state and municipal offices.
After 90 murders of politicians since the campaign began last September, there were fears of a violent day or that the INE would not have the capacity as an autonomous body to manage the elections, especially after López Obrador’s recurrent criticism of Lorenzo Córdova himself.
López Obrador also mentioned his doubts about the possibility of fraud, but except for a few incidents, the electoral process has been carried with transparency, according to the OAS observer mission.
Voter turnout was above the average of the midterm elections of 47 percent, approaching 52 percent, a figure praised by all politicians when they coincide in these elections. pandemic and violence unusual during the campaign.
Preliminary results also show the loss of influence of the once hegemonic PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) that has lost territorial power, while the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) is consolidated as the second force in the chamber with between 106 and 117 seats.
“It’s going through Mexico”
The results of the opposition coalition “It goes for Mexico” of the PRI, PAN and PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party) are acceptable and are presented as an alternative for the presidential elections of 2024 by adding 181 to 213 deputies of the 500 of the Chamber of Deputies.
“We have achieved our first goal of prevent Morena from obtaining a qualified majority“, assured Marko Cortés, national president of the PAN.
New political map
The result of Sunday’s elections also shows a new configuration of the political map of Mexico with greater party fragmentation and an increase in regional power in states like Nuevo León due to the victory of the controversial politician Samuel García, of the liberal Citizen Movement (MC).
The second part of López Obrador’s six-year term, whose term ends in 2024, guarantees him a comfortable majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but he will not be able to impose his transformation projects with constitutional reforms that require a qualified majority.
Election officials begin counting votes in Aguascalientes. Photo: Xinhua
López Obrador has, however, a lot of room for maneuver because it maintains high popularity shares despite the effects of the pandemic, the serious economic crisis, the increase in unemployment and the high levels of insecurity and crime that have not decreased since he came to power in December 2018.
Due to all these circumstances, López Obrador has come out relatively well in an election that looked like a plebiscite on his management, while the president was looking for a landslide victory to have a comfortable majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
After announcing the first estimates of the electoral results on Sunday night, the INE will continue the count during several days and it is unknown when the final results will be announced, both to the Chamber of Deputies and to the 15 governorships and thousands of municipalities.
The author is a journalist for EFE