Monday, June 24, 2024

López Obrador’s coalition en route to winning a majority in Congress

Andrés Manuel López Obrador not only won yesterday’s presidential election in a landslide but the coalition he leads also looks set to win a majority in both houses of Congress.

Preliminary results suggest that the three parties that make up the Together We Will Make History coalition — Morena, the Labor Party (PT) and the Social Encounter Party (PES) — would win at least 260 of 500 seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies and around 65 of 128 seats in the Senate.

That result would give AMLO, as the president-elect is commonly known, a clear mandate to implement new policies and repeal current ones.

The Morena party leader won 53% in the presidential race, more than 30 points ahead of second-place candidate Ricardo Anaya.

The National Action Party-led For Mexico in Front coalition that Anaya heads will probably form the main opposition to the incoming López Obrador-led government in Congress, although it appears likely that it will win less than half the number of seats compared to those the government will control.

The vote for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) collapsed yesterday and the political force that held power for much of the 20th century will have severely diminished representation in both houses of Congress.

Its presidential candidate, José Antonio Meade, was unable to free himself from the shackles of a corruption-plagued administration and won just 16% of the vote, with the electorate sending a clear message of discontent with the government.

The peso weakened today on news of López Obrador’s victory, losing about 1.5% of its value. Earlier today, the currency was trading at 20.18 pesos to the US dollar.

López Obrador indicated last night that he intended to review contracts awarded to foreign and private companies in the energy sector that were made possible due to a 2013 reform promulgated by the current administration.

But in a speech late last night, AMLO also sought to quell concerns about the country’s economy, saying that he would not increase taxes or the public debt and pledging an orderly transition “so that economic and financial stability is maintained.”

However, he committed to increase spending by doubling the old-age pension and increasing the number of scholarships for students.

AMLO has repeatedly said that eradicating government corruption will free up resources to spend on social programs.

The 2013 educational reform, which forced teachers to undergo compulsory evaluations and sparked countless protests, also looks certain to at least be reviewed if not repealed. AMLO said yesterday he will start to work on a new plan with teachers so that “their labor rights are not damaged” and the quality of education is improved.

At a scheduled meeting with incumbent President Enrique Peña Nieto tomorrow, López Obrador said he would raise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but added that he would respect the government team that has represented Mexico to date in the drawn-out and contentious negotiations.

“We’re going to support [the team] so that it can sign the agreement, so that a good negotiation that benefits Mexico is achieved,” he said.

United States President Donald Trump, who has long railed against NAFTA, congratulated López Obrador via Twitter yesterday, writing that “there is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!”

AMLO also said that he would seek to meet with the three candidates he defeated in yesterday’s election in order to “exchange points of view.”

López Obrador will be sworn in as president on December 1 while the new Chamber of Deputies and Senate will first sit on September 1.

Source: El Universal (sp), Expansión (sp), The Washington Post (en), Milenio (sp)

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