Wednesday, November 29, 2023

PRI loses México state, holds onto Coahuila in governors’ elections

The Morena party is set to end almost 100 years of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule in México state after former federal education minister Delfina Gómez triumphed in Sunday’s gubernatorial election.

There was better news for the PRI in Coahuila, where former Saltillo mayor Manolo Jiménez Salinas won the governorship for an alliance made up of the PRI, the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

Delfina Gomez, governor elect of Mexico state
Delfina Gómez became Mexico state’s first female governor on Sunday. (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

Preliminary results published on Monday by the National Electoral Institute showed that in México state, Goméz — who was also backed by the Labor Party (PT) and the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) — was expected to win about 52.7% of the vote, while her sole rival, PRI-PAN-PRD candidate Alejandra del Moral Vela, was forecast to garner 44.3%.

Morena will govern 22 of Mexico’s 32 federal entities once Gómez takes office in September as the first female governor of México state, which surrounds much of Mexico City

In Coahuila, where the PRI has also held power since 1929, Jiménez was a clear winner over Morena’s candidate Armando Guadiana Tijerina, a former senator. The PRI-PAN-PRD candidate was expected to win about 57% of the vote, while support for Guadiana was forecast at just 21.5%.

PT candidate Ricardo Mejía Berdeja was a distant third with about 13.3% support, while the vote for PVEM aspirant Evaristo Lenin Pérez Rivera was estimated at about 5.9%.

Gubernatorial candidate in Mexico state, Alejandra del Moral Vela
PRI-PAN-PRD candidate Alejandro del Moral Vela, seen here at one of her final campaign events in México state, received 44.3% of the vote, according to preliminary National Electoral Institute results. (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

Gómez, who was education minister in President López Obrador’s government between early 2021 and last September, took to social media to celebrate her victory in México state, where turnout was around half of eligible voters.

“Your vote has spoken and it said: yes to change in #EdoMex,” she wrote on Twitter, using a common abbreviation for Mexico’s most populous state — and one of its most violent. “Your confidence in this project of transformation fills me with enthusiasm and commits me to work every day for the well-being of all. Today is a day to celebrate, the people of México state have won!”

In an address in the state capital of Toluca, the soon-to-be governor said that “100 long years of corruption and abandonment” were coming to an end in México state. Gómez’s victory in México state is a major boost for the government led by López Obrador, who founded Morena in 2011.

Mexicans will go to the polls on June 2, 2024 to elect the country’s next president. Polls consistently show that the Morena candidate — most likely Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum or Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard — will win.

Mario Delgado, head of Mexico's Morena Party
Morena Party head Mario Delgado, who was in Toluca to celebrate Delfina Gómez’s victory, said her win must be an example for the party in 2024’s upcoming races. (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

Sunday’s result in México state gives Morena additional confidence that it will remain in office after the departure of López Obrador, who has maintained a majority approval rating throughout his presidency.

The party’s national leader, Mario Delgado, said Sunday that the México state contest “must be an example” for Morena in 2024.

“From here, with a lot of unity, we’re going to win the presidency in 2024. We’re going to win [the mayorship of] Mexico City, we’re going to win the rest of the states up for grabs as well as the majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate,” he said.

The opposition PRI-PAN-PRD alliance, which has committed to fielding a common candidate at next year’s presidential election, can take some heart from Jiménez’s victory in Coahuila, but replicating that result at a federal level in 2024 looks, at this stage, to be a difficult if not insurmountable challenge.

Governor elect of Coahuila, Mexico, Manolo Jimenez Salinas
Coahuila’s new governor-elect, PRI-PAN-PRD candidate Manolo Jiménez Salinas, shows his daughter how to put his voting ballot into an election box on Sunday. (Alejandro Rodríguez/Cuartoscuro)

Results of a Reforma newspaper poll published in late May showed that the three opposition parties had combined support of 39%, compared to 55% for the alliance led by Morena.

On Twitter on Monday morning, Jiménez — who was aided electorally by a split between Morena and the PT in Coahuila — pledged to achieve “good results” as governor, and asserted that “we will begin a new history, a history that will be built and told by citizens who want to move forward.”

He will replace Governor Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís in September, perpetuating the PRI’s near century-long rule, albeit with the support of the PAN and the PRD.

Citizens in Coahuila also voted for representatives to the northern state’s unicameral 25-seat Congress. The PRI-PAN-PRD alliance won all 16 directly-elected seats, while the occupants of the nine seats allocated via proportional representation have not yet been determined.

With reports from El Financiero and Reforma 

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