The ruling Morena party will lose its majority in the lower house of Congress and the two-thirds supermajority it shares with its allies, according to official “quick count” results of Sunday’s federal election, but the party founded by President López Obrador nevertheless attracted almost double the votes of its nearest rival.
In better news for the ruling party, Morena is on track to win at least 10 of 15 governorships up for grabs at the elections, widely considered a referendum on López Obrador’s performance during his first 2 1/2 years in office, a period during which violence remained extremely high, the economy shrank and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives to Covid-19.
According to National Electoral Institute (INE) projections, Morena secured about 35% of the vote in the federal congressional election and will win 190 to 203 of the 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. It currently holds 256.
The vote for Morena indicates that roughly two out of every three Mexicans who voted — just over half of about 93 million registered voters turned out — didn’t support the ruling party in the federal election. However, the four-party coalition it led garnered close to 50% of the vote.
The two main opposition parties, the National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), won about 19% and 18% of the vote, respectively, according to INE’s “quick count.” The PAN is projected to win 106 to 117 seats while the PRI is on track to secure 63 to 74. The former currently holds 77 seats while the latter, which suffered a humiliating defeat in 2018 at the tail end of Enrique Peña Nieto’s scandal-plagued presidency, has just 48.
Although it appears Morena will lose control of the lower house on its own, it is projected to reach a majority with the support of its allies, the Labor Party (PT), the Green Party (PVEM) and the Solidary Encounter Party (PES).
The PT is projected to win 35 to 41 seats, the PVEM — which supported the PRI during the previous government — is on track to take 40 to 48, and the PES could win as many as six or as few as zero. Based on the INE projections, the Morena-led alliance will win 265 to 298 seats. Those figures are well short of the two-thirds qualified majority required to approve constitutional reforms. The Morena-led coalition currently has a slim supermajority in the Chamber of Deputies.
Losing that majority would be a major blow to the president, who is seeking to wind back the previous government’s constitutional reform that opened up the energy sector to private and foreign companies. Morena will have to seek the support of opposition lawmakers to approve constitutional changes in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, in which the coalition it leads falls short of two-thirds control. There was no election for senators on Sunday.
Not getting the result he was looking for in the lower house elections makes it probable that López Obrador “will try to radicalize,” political pundit Jorge Zepeda Patterson, founder of the news website Sin Embargo, told Milenio Televisión.
There has been growing speculation that the president, who has sought to concentrate significant power in the executive branch of government, could attempt to extend his term beyond the six years permitted by the constitution, although he has promised he will leave office and retire to his ranch in Chiapas in 2024.
According to political columnist Raymundo Riva Palacio, the election results will “prevent López Obrador from having a field day during the second third of his six-year term.”
Writing in the newspaper El Financiero, Riva acknowledged that the federal election was closer than expected and contended that the 2024 presidential election is “open,” meaning that there is no guarantee that Morena, which easily won in 2018, will extend its hold on power.
According to INE, the right-left opposition bloc made up of the PAN, the PRI and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) is projected to win 181 to 213 seats, while the Citizens Movement (MC) party, which is also opposed to Morena, is on track to take 20 to 27 seats.
The PAN’s national president celebrated the party’s performance and the achievements of the opposition coalition, called Va por México (Go for Mexico).
“… We reiterate our appreciation [to voters] and our commitment to Mexico [becoming] a better country,” Marko Cortés wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations, because together, the Va por México coalition took the [supermajority] in the Chamber of Deputies from Morena and its allied parties.”
“The majority of Mexicans want to correct the direction of the country,” he said in separate remarks.
However, Morena national president Mario Delgado pointed out that the ruling party and its partners were in fact on track to win a majority in the lower house. He also claimed that in a “historic triumph,” Morena would win 12 of the 15 governorships being decided Sunday.
“Morena is growing in the country. The people decided that the transformation proceeds,” Delgado said in a video message, referring to the federal government’s pledge to carry out a “fourth transformation” in Mexico on par in importance with independence from Spain, 19th-century liberal reforms and the Mexican Revolution.
For his part, López Obrador said Monday that he was “happy, happy, happy” with the results of the lower house election. They favor the ongoing “transformation of Mexico,” he told reporters this morning at his regular news conference.
In addition to maintaining control of the Chamber of Deputies with its allies, Morena was on track to win the governorships of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tlaxcala and Zacatecas. Morena could also win in Campeche, where the race is very tight, while a PT/PVEM candidate was set to win in San Luis Potosí. Opposition parties are projected to take the governorships of Chihuahua, Querétaro and Nuevo León.
There was less for Morena to celebrate in Mexico City, governed by Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a leading contender to succeed López Obrador as president. The ruling party currently governs 11 of 16 boroughs in the capital but appeared to win in just six on Sunday.
Mexico News Daily