By RICARDO CASTILLO
The candidates of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO)National Regeneration Movement (Morena) for the states of Baja California and Puebla, Jaime Bonilla Valdez and Miguel Barbosa Huerta, respectively, walked away with resounding victories over their competitors for the gubernatorial races on Sunday, June 2.
In Baja California, a state that had been governed by the conservative National Action Party (PAN) since 1989, Bonilla Valdez won a full majority of over 50 percent of votes, while the PAN’s Oscar Vega Marín won just over 23 percent, according to a preliminary count carried out by the official elections organizer, the National Electoral Institute (INE).
Bonilla Valdez, who is a wealthy businessman with close ties to AMLO, was backed by a coalition composed of Morena, the Labor Party (PT) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM).
In Puebla, with all ballots tallied, the INE announced on Monday, June 3, that Morena candidate Barbosa Huerta was the winner, with 44.67 percent of the votes, followed by the candidate for the coalition of PAN, Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Citizens’ Movement (MC) Enrique Cárdenas Sánchez, who trailed with 33.23 percent of the votes. A third candidate, Alberto Jiménez Merino of the once-almighty Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lagged behind with 18.45 percent of the vote.
The Puebla election was particularly meaningful for the PAN membership since it had won the governorship in the 2018 elections for Martha Erika Alonso, who ran against Miguel Barbosa. However, Alonso, who was sworn in on Dec.14, 2018, died in a helicopter accident 10 days later, forcing the INE to organize new elections.
There were also elections for mayors and state representatives in four other Mexican states, namely Aguascalientes, Durango, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas, where PAN national leader Marko Cortés boasted his party won state control of governance.
Top election organizer and president of the general council of the INE, Lorenzo Córdova, said that, from an organizational point of view, the election had been a success since the INE managed to set up 99.9 of all voting booths in often distant places with voting being done with legality, transparency and in peace.
Córdova pointed out after announcing the initial poll forecast that Sunday’s “elections are may be over, but it is not over for us. We’re still in a stage of booth scrutiny and counting and the figures made public show that we had a successful election.”
The INE president, however, recognized that citizen participation “was low.” The percentage of registered voters who participated was anywhere between 30 and 40 percent in the six states, and Córdova said the INE will “have to analyze the causes of absenteeism.”
He added “it’s a pity that many did not vote because they left democracy in the hands of others.”