By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Despite countless physical and verbal assaults, numerous alleged kidnappings and the murders of at least 90 politicians over the pre-election campaigns, Mexico held its largest national polling Sunday, June 6, with relatively little violence and minimal political snags.
Polls across the country opened at 8 a.m. sharp, with an estimated 40 million eligible voters turning out to cast ballots for 20,415 posts, including 15 governorships, state and municipal offices and the entire lower Mexican legislative house, the Chamber of Deputies.
There were some reports of scattered acts of violence, including vote burnings, ballot thefts and assaults on polling stations in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz and the State of Mexico (Edoméx).
Given the tense political polarization and the violence that marred the leadup to the elections (these were believed to be the bloodiest in the nation’s recent history), the Mexican government sent out 100,000 National Guardsmen (GN) to supervise their conduction.
The results of the midterm elections are expected to be decisive for leftist Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), since the political consolidation of his government is at stake.
Currently, his National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party has a supermajority in the Chamber of Deputies, but is expected to have lost ground in Sunday’s elections.
The Mexican Congress is made up of 500 deputies, 300 of whom are voted in by a relative majority (elected through the direct vote of the citizens) and 200 of whom reflect a proportional representation (known as multi-member), who are elected through lists by the political parties themselves.
Among the exclusive powers of the Chamber of Deputies is the approval of the federal budget and expenditures, the review of the public accounts, the decision as to whether to proceed criminally against public servants, the appointment of federal electoral advisers and the approval of legal initiatives.
Up until now, AMLO has effectively “ordered” the Morena majority (51.4 percent) in the chamber to “approve his initiatives without changing single comma,” but if Morena loses its supermajority (331 legislative seats), López Obrador will be hard-strapped to continue railroading his controversial Fourth Transformation (4T) reforms through the Mexican Congress.
Instead, AMLO and Morena would be forced to negotiate and make concessions to get opposition legislators on board with his initiatives, many of which are still pending in Congress.
Among AMLO’s major pending proposals is a law establishing compulsory higher education and free access to public universities; a law to restructure the Attorney General’s Office (FGR); a law to restructure the Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico); and a federal law to legalize marijuana.
Also crucial to AMLO and Morena are the election of the 15 governorships, particularly those in the north of the country, which is generally considered to be Mexico’s industrial and economic engine, contributing the largest share of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), after Mexico City and the State of Mexico (Edoméx).
Mexico’s northern states tend to lean toward conservative parties, so Morena’s candidates in this region are not likely to be victorious.
Throughout the campaigns, López Obrador himself openly admitted to personally intervening in the electoral processes in the north, in direct violation of the Mexican Constitution.
Also at stake in this election is the control of Mexico City’s 16 precincts.
The capital city is governed by Morena’s Claudia Sheinbaum, a strong contender for the party’s presidential candidate in the 2024 elections.
However, the May 3 collapse of Mexico City Metro Line 12, killing at least 26 people, and the municipal and federal governments’ weak response to the tragedy has turned many former pro-Morena supporters against the populist party.
Polls closed at 7 p.m. and vote counts began.
Although preliminary wins were, in some cases, predicted late Sunday night, the National Electoral Institute (INE) will announce the polling results starting Monday, June 7.
In the cases in which there are challenges or that the victor holds less than a 5 percent lead, there will be recounts and the final decision will be made by Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power (TEPJF).